KEEPING BELVIDERE SECURE
Belvidere Estate has a well-earned reputation for being one of the safest suburbs in Knysna. Situated approximately 8klm West of the centre of Knysna, Belvidere’s Western boundary is formed by a steep ridge and the Eastern boundary is the Estuary. These natural features ensure limited points of access. There is a single entrance for vehicles off the Brenton Road and foot-traffic is limited to a track along the old Knysna/George railway line. Both access points are monitored by cameras on a 24 hour basis.
By South African standards, Knysna has relatively low levels of crime. The type of crime we experience in the greater Knysna area is primarily opportunistic, non-violent, and driven by unemployment and poverty. Belvidere Estate has a security portfolio as part of its Homeowners Association and monthly reviews are provided to the Executive Committee.
A multi-faceted approach is followed which includes the following:
Belvidere Owl's Patrols
In addition to securing your home, we ask residents to volunteer an hour or so of their time once every 6 – 8 weeks to do a night patrol of our neighbourhood. Our purpose is to create visibility on a strictly non-confrontational basis. If anything suspicious is noted, patrollers merely contact our local security company – Allsound. They have a response vehicle permanently in our vicinity and will respond accordingly. We encourage new residents to join the Belvidere Owls and become active in keeping Belvidere Estate secure.
Sophisticated Camera Network
The estate has an extensive network of cameras monitoring strategic access points on a 24 hour basis. Certain of the cameras have an artificial intelligence capability which is programmed to detect unusual movement during certain hours of the night. These cameras are directly linked to the Allsound control room which can immediately review what is taking place, and dispatch a vehicle if necessary. We also have a camera with specialist vehicle identification technology near the estate’s entrance on the Brenton Road. This forms part of a Provincial network monitored by the SAPS and Allsound.
Community Police Forum (CPF)
The Belvidere Owls are a registered neighbourhood watch with the Community Police Forum (CPF). We attend monthly meetings with other members including the SAPS, Allsound and neighbourhood watches. In these meetings, we are updated on security issues in the greater Knysna area as well as incidents reported in other residential neighbourhoods. This helps us to understand crime trends and residents are kept informed of unfolding developments.
All Sound Security
As outlined above, Allsound Security has a dedicated patrol vehicle in our area. They regularly monitor the entrance to our Estate, do random patrols and are there to assist with any incidents which might occur in the common public areas. Whilst the majority of our residents are privately contracted to Allsound’s response unit, we have always found them willing to assist even in instances where it is not their direct responsibility.
Knysna Safety and Security Initiative
Belvidere Estate is a participant in the Knysna Safety and Security Initiative (KSSI). The aim is to identify what additional equipment and sourcing will help Knysna’s crime fighting agencies in their work and then to go about developing and managing a process to make it happen. A thermal imaging drone was recently added to the arsenal. Currently, the KSSI is involved in upgrading and extending the network of crime-fighting cameras in the CBD. This project is critical to maintaining the security of local citizens and visitors.
Maintenance of Street Lights
Historically, the street-lights in Belvidere were maintained by the Municipality. Our Homeowner’s Association recently took over this responsibility and contracted an electrical firm to maintain them. Residents and patrollers regularly report those lights which are not working. Our aim is to maintain our infrastructure and to prioritize that which enhances our security. We believe a well-maintained suburb sends a message in itself. Let’s all work towards keeping Belvidere secure.
There is no fixed format or times for night patrols. However, the following are some broad guidelines:
There are no fixed rules. Folk generally choose a period or two, between the hours of 21:00 and 5:00 and spend a one to two hours out there. The cops recommend that we simply park somewhere visible, but some prefer to do slow circuits and some even walk. The more varied the better.
Our purpose is STRICTLY NON-CONFRONTATIONAL, we are not law enforcers, so do not risk yourself, be a “presence” and call Allsound Security for assistance if you feel there is something serious going on.
Our duty is to be a visible deterrent and only to observe, record events and vehicle registrations of any suspicious persons, as a backup to the cameras and raise the alarm if there is something untoward. If need be, phone Allsound Security, Knysna Police or one of your Neighbourhood Watch colleagues. Allsound Security is paid a retainer by the Belvidere Homeowners Association for 24 hour call-out cover.
Include Old Belvidere in your route, go past the Belvidere Church, down past the common, up Garden Lane and Upper Hill Street in the Venture Trust area.
Check the jetty toilet for vagrants, the jetty & tennis court parking areas for suspicious vehicles and maybe a few streets in the Estate at random. Look out for garage doors which have accidentally been left open – not uncommon.
For the rest of the time, the best policy is to park and observe. Good locations are Oak Leaf parking area, Belvidere Road above Oak Leaf and at the top of Belvidere Road onto Brenton Road. Some people like to drive and walk, some walk and others only drive. Please yourself.
There is a security guard on duty at the entrance to Belvidere Park and a security guard on patrol at Belvidere Manor. There are CCTV cameras focused on the entrance to Belvidere Estate which should record all comings and goings. The Manor also has CCTV which covers the entrance to the Jetty.
Building sites are worth a bit of extra attention, especially in the early morning, as these could yield rich pickings for thieves. Have fun, observe some of our nocturnal wildlife – Egyptian geese and herons at the jetty, owls, porcupine, honey badger, blue duiker & bushpigs. Belvidere by moonlight is a very special place.
One of the strengths of the Neighbourhood Watch is that everyone works to their own schedule, so there is no set pattern on our duties and patrols. It has been suggested that, during the warm summer evenings, there is an increased risk with windows and doors being left open before residents turn in.
A fully charged mobile phone, torch, notepad and pen and list of essential phone numbers.
ABSOLUTELY NO FIREARMS
In the event of an incident contact Allsound Security and the next morning inform either Eric de Jager or your Day Captain and submit an incident report to Eric de Jager who will circulate, by e-mail, to all Day Captains and Niekie Lamprecht. If you come across a strange vehicle, make a note of its registration number and description, and pass it onto Eric de Jager, who will then have it checked out with the local authorities.
Also, the following morning send a WhatsApp brief message on the events, if any, during your patrol, to the Belvidere Security WhatsApp group.
Important Phone Numbers
All Sound Security
044 382 5589
044 305 6652
Belvidere Estate Security Representative
Eric de Jager
082 900 3416