MID public safety officers are alert to suspicious BEHAVIOUR not ‘suspicious looking’ people

These were the words of Stuart Wragg, Operations Director for Securitas – the new public safety service provider for the MID. He was responding to questions at a Public Safety Information Meeting on Tuesday evening (21 July 2015). 32 Muizenberg Improvement District members and residents participated in a question and answer exchange.

How do public safety officers deal with ‘dodgy’ people?

suspicious behaviour

Non-prejudicial profiling focuses on suspicious behaviour, not how a person looks

Answering a question about how MID Public Safety officers deal with ‘dodgy’ people, Wragg pointed out that suspicion is often based on prejudice which can result in wrongful harassment of innocent people. The approach taken by Securitas is to practice non-prejudiced profiling. In other words, profiling by MID Public Safety officers is based on suspicious behaviour not on the race, gender, religion or appearance of a person.

Call 021 762 3813 to radio the MID Public Safety Patrol Vehicle
Because Securitas Public Safety officers are specifically trained in the application of city by-laws and the nature of the public environment, they can act assertively when they notice suspicious behaviour. This could be someone who is peering into cars, looking over the walls of houses  or someone who has been lingering around a particular spot with no apparent purpose for being there. In instances like this, the public safety officer will directly approach the person and ask them what their business is and if necessary they will be asked to leave the area. In their first 3 weeks of operation, the new MID public safety team ensured that 32 people behaving suspiciously left the area.

All of this is important in preventing crime. Wragg emphasised that residents need to pay constant attention to suspicious behaviour and report it to the Securitas control centre on 021 762 3813. The control centre will immediately radio the dedicated MID patrol vehicle to investigate. The suspicion may turn out to be unfounded but you should still call and say “I’m from MID in this street and there is someone doing …. please send the patrol vehicle.”

Wragg stressed that Public Safety is most effective when it is a collaborative effort – everyone in the MID using their eyes and ears and paying attention to what is happening around them.

WhatsApp Groups

In the 6 other improvement districts where Securitas manages public safety, the formation of street WhatsApp groups has been highly effective. Muizenberg residents are encouraged to start a WhatsApp group for their street and alert each other to potential danger as well as conditions that make it easier to do crime.

An example working well is the block of Vlei, Watson, Maynard and Westbury Roads. Most of the neighbours are in a WhatsApp group and they do things like, everyone switches on their lights if one neighbour alerts the others to people trying to break into a car.  Immediately the would-be thieves see the lights, they know they are being watched and flee the area. When a woman arrives home alone at night, she will alert the group, and men who live nearby will come outside to make sure she gets indoors safely. Perhaps the most effective thing this particular group has done is to recognise that crime and grime go together. Tired of having bin pickers mess up their pavements and case out their homes, this block no longer puts their bins out on the streets in the early morning on rubbish day.  Bins are taken to the garages of neighbours who are at home during the day and they only take the bins into the road when the waste truck arrives. The result: no grime, no crime.

Neighbourhood Watch

Organised streets can feed into the larger neighbourhood watch system. The local neighbourhood watch, Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative (MCSI) is attracting renewed support and Chair, Trevor Snyders encourages all residents to sign up and get involved in patrols or merely by sharing information and being alert. Email him on chair@mcsi.org.za to sign up and get involved.

The MID public safety service supports and complements these public collaborations and is also managing an incident desk to record crime and grime incidents in the area. By grime, we mean they will notice and report broken traffic lights, blocked drains or new faces among the regular homeless people under the bridge – anything that can lead to degeneration and grime in the Muizenberg Improvement District.

At the Information Meeting, Steven Frankal, MID Chair, said that the session was part of the Board’s commitment to being transparent in all their dealings and decision making. This is why the MID board from time-to-time holds special member information sessions to provide feedback channels additional to the MID website www.mid.org.za, the MID Facebook page and member E-newsletters. Any property owner within the special rated area of the MID can become a member. He also reminded members that they can request to come and engage around particular issues during the public session before each board meeting. Please email your request to: manager@mid.org.za

Issued by Lesley Schroeder, Stakeholder Engagement Director, MID


About MID

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and to promote business confidence.

The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City. It uses its funds to combat crime and grime, enhance the environment, and find work workable solutions to social issues like vagrancy and the plight of the homeless.  The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008. Website: https://www.mid.org.za

 Enquiries: Chevone Petersen manager@mid.org.za  Tel: 021 788 1196 Cell: 082 463 1525