ARRA-Quatro Crime & Security Initiative

Sub-Committee Chair: Flor Healy – April 2022

ARRA continues to work closely and in partnership with Quatro in providing the successful area-based armed response service to members on a 24-7-365 basis. This area-based rapid-response service is the best cost-effective option available to residents in the area and is proving its worth in its 12-years of existence.

A. Reported Crime Incidents in 2021

In 2021, there were 27 reported incidents over the year (-41% on 2020) i.e.3 night incidents (11%) and 24 day incidents (89%), with a major reduction in night crimes (which had 17 reported incidents in 2020), and this can be attributed to the curfew and the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. There were 0 arrests made, in line with the reduced crime rate under COVID-19 restrictions.

The patrol vehicle is proving effective and we thank Collen, Jackson and Tefu for their vigilance and proactivity in preventing crimes in our area, as well as Das Meerholz, Quatro Regional Manager for his on-going support. COVID-19 restrictions and curfews appear to have contributed to low levels of opportunist crimes in the area during 2020, but this trend is not anticipated to last.

The Overall Year-on-Year Situation can be reflected as follows:

  • Overall, since the process began in 2010, the ‘Top 5’ Streets with worst reported crime incidents are: (1) Beckett Str. [81 incidents]; (2) Government Ave. [76 incidents]; (3) Balmoral Ave. [54 incidents]; (4) East Ave. [53 incidents]; and (5) Thomas Ave. [46 incidents].
  • The break-down of crime incidents in 2021 is as follows:

The focus of break-ins/thefts in 2021 and so far in 2022 is as follows:

  • In 2022, so far there have been 19 reported incidents, with reported crime incidents being generally very low, when compared with elsewhere in the City, including surrounding neighbourhoods. Vehicle theft (on-street) and theft of vehicle contents (on-street) are significant incidents. General opportunist thefts on-street are very prevalent, which indicates constant observation and action by criminals following the smallest of mistakes made by residents or visitors. In March, a spike in the theft of dustbins was especially evident and Quatro has stepped-up patrols on Tuesdays to address this temporary spike.
  • However, arising from the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and coupled with the very severe economic downturn that is evident, it can be expected that crime levels will significantly rise and the upper-Arcadia catchment area will also experience this trend. So far, reported incidents are predominantly street-based, daytime opportunist incidents, but the seriousness and frequency of incidents can be expected to increase significantly. Incidents of car theft and high-value items are likely to increase significantly.
  • Members of the Quatro scheme are requested to review their security requirements for effectiveness, while all residents are encouraged to adopt a heightened vigilance and security awareness at all times.

B. Membership of the ARRA-Quatro CSI

ARRA represents the wider Arcadia catchment area, but is specifically focused in the precinct located North of Stanza Bopape Street containing approx. 397 stands1 and which is predominantly residential in nature, with some diplomatic residences and Embassies. Currently, the overall ARRA-Quatro Crime & Security Initiative comprises 186+ individual members and 3 Guarding Contracts i.e. 173 members within the defined catchment area, 13 South of Stanza Bopape Street and 5 guarding contracts, in provision of proactive 24-hour armed response security services to members. This represents a 44%+ area penetration (and 65%+ if you exclude the Complexes and Embassies). New members are always welcome and at R450 per month (or R15 per day), this represents exceptional value-for-money for a quality-assured rapid-response service that secures the area and gives peace of mind to members of the scheme. There is no better alternative that provides such value-for-money and evidenced-based results!

C. Wider Initiatives and OPERRA

An on-going concern is the increase in communes and illegal businesses in the area, with increasing evidence of organised crime syndicates operating in the area, contributing to increased opportunist crime incidents, prostitution and drug-related crimes. ARRA and Quatro, through the Sector/Community Policing Forum, endeavour to work with SAPS in addressing these issues, but it is through our own vigilance, and the concerted efforts of Quatro, that we really rely on for crime containment and prevention. In many cases, crime incidents were prevalent where alarms were not primed or installed, with the rapid-response of the Quatro patrol vehicle being a major deterrent to more serious incidents. While the trend of crime is manageable, it is also one which needs constant vigilance and support from the community, with the support of the police (SAPS and TMPD) and the Sector/Community Policing Forum (CPF).

Under OPERRA, ARRA also explores closer collaboration with contiguous RRAs in Rietondale, Colbyn, Clydesdale and Sunnyside East to determine interest for synergies and cost-saving initiatives in increasing scope and coverage of patrolling, information-exchanges and more effective collaboration with SAPS, TMPD, CoT and the CPFs. Similarly, under OPERRA, the role of the CIDs is under constant scrutiny, as there have been previous attempts by some CIDs to encroach illegally into residential precincts in an attempt to spread business costs, with risks to established private residential security initiatives. This matter is being actively monitored.

D. Community Policing Forum (CPF)

ARRA participates in the CPF (Sector 1)2 as relevant, where the following issues are of significance:

  • Normally, the forum mostly meets monthly, on the first Monday of each month, together with stakeholders and the SAPS;
  • Continued vigilance by residents, security patrollers and SAPS is required to maintain the status quo and hopefully increase our security even more;
  • SAPS is inviting RRAs to assist them in identifying the extent of CCTV in their catchment areas, which can be used to gather evidence of incidents locally – SAPS will work with the private security companies and RRAs, through the CPFs. An exercise will be co-ordinated through the CPFs in due course;
  • One sorely lacking contributor to the forum is the TMPD, who are continuously invited but never attend, and this needs to be addressed urgently as TMPD is responsible for by-law enforcement as well as community policing support;

1 This figure is made-up of: (1) 289 individual stands (across 14 streets); (2) 80 units in the Falcons Complex; (3) 20 units in the Twentyman Court complex; and (4) 8 units in the Clarendon Court complex.

2 Sector 1 CPF includes Hatfield, Colbyn, Bryntirion and parts of Arcadia