Public Safety

Keeping Observatory Safer

  • 2018 OCTOBER OBSID ONW CRIME REPORT

Our public safety team extends beyond employees of the OBSID and employees of our contracted public safety service provider, Outershield Security Solutions.

Besides two full time public safety managers and 20 public safety officers, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the OBSID safety network extends to include the SAPS, the LPR user group, law enforcement, traffic services, private security providers and the Observatory Neighbourhood Watch.

Our officers can be found on foot and in vehicles, and are in constant radio contact with the OBSID’s 24/7 control room. Two mobile, branded kiosks are also positioned within the OBSID boundaries to further reduce the level of crime.

OBSID employs two full time Law Enforcement officers, particularly to assist it in providing powers of arrest and being able to issue fines, giving the company the full reach of the law.

The Observatory Neighbourhood Watch is a particularly valued partner, with an ever expanding network of street WhatsApp groups in use for reporting incidents and concerns, plus active members who are out and about in the community and who access the radio network to alert the officers or public safety managers to issues or concerns.

The OBSID also liaises with business owners throughout Observatory, who provide additional “eyes on” support to the deployed teams.

The OBSID has successfully trialled Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) technology and is currently expanding its footprint of cameras in strategic locations throughout its area.   Alerts from LPR cameras have been instrumental in a number of arrest in Observatory and the surrounding suburbs in the past year.

The OBSID enjoys a good working relationship with Woodstock SAPS and is a member of the Community Policing Forum for the Woodstock precinct

How to report issues at SAPS.

If you are a victim of crime, make your way to the police station that governs the area where the incident took place. Observatory’s closest police station is the Woodstock Police Station.

You might be able to go to any police station to report a crime – but this might cause delays in further action as the case docket will need to be transferred to the correct station – and just like any business, information could be lost or misplaced.

Before going to the police station to report a crime:

  • Have a copy of your ID or any other means of identification;
  • If personal items were stolen, take all means of identification with you (photos, describe any special markings and a full description of the item);
  • If your cell-phone has been stolen, you first need to contact your service provider and block your SIM or blacklist your cell phone. Your service provider will issue you an ITC number.

When you enter the reception area of the police station (sometimes called the Community Service Centre), you’ll see a front desk staffed by officers in uniform and on duty. When you are called:

  • State the reason for your visit and try to keep it short and concise;
  • Give as much detail as you remember – e.g. what happened and when, where it happened, how you think it happened, give descriptions;
  • If the crime relates to a cell phone, provide the officer with the ITC number as well as your IMEI number to open the case ;
  • When providing the officer with your statement, please remember that he or she may not be fully fluent in your chosen language – so take your time, explain things carefully and be patient;
  • When your statement is completed, take the time to read it through. If you want to make changes, do so – and make sure you initial each one;
  • Once you are happy with the contents, take the prescribed oath and then request a copy of the statement (this could assist you later on when you need to attend court or when visited by a detective investigating your case). Remember that by taking the prescribed oath, it is a declaration that you are telling the truth and you can be charged if it is discovered that you are in fact making a false statement under oath;
  • Ask for the officer’s name and rank for your records (this too, will assist if required to re-trace your steps);
  • Follow up until you receive a case number.

Follow the same procedure as above or call the police station involved and speak to the Visible Policing (VisPol) head.

Keep in mind that you do not have to make a statement if you are only wishing to alert the police to something suspicious – just inform the officer of your suspicions and provide all relevant details.

If you want feedback, then you’ll need to provide the police with your details and may be asked to give a statement under oath.

If you want to report an Officer of the police service, you’ll need to request a meeting with the VisPol head or the Station Commissioner. It’s best to not discuss the matter with any other police office whilst you are waiting for your meeting, unless you have been invited to discuss the matter with a senior ranking official.

If you wish to raise issues about the condition of police vehicles or how they have been driven, you can either call the station or ask to speak to the head pf logistics, or go to the station and request a meeting.

If you have any evidence to support your complaint, please be ready to provide a copy.

Staying safe in Observatory

Secure your home, put up good perimeter lighting and sign up with an armed response company. Meet your neighbours, share contact numbers and stay in touch. If you park on the street, make sure you leave your car locked and don’t leave anything in sight.

If you are a visitor to Observatory, check the safety and security policy at your accommodation. Keep others staying at your accommodation aware of your movements and provide them with your mobile number. Lock up valuables in your room, and don’t leave valuables near open windows.

The Observatory Neighbourhood Watch runs a wide ranging WhatsApp group system. As a resident, you can get added to groups in your area.

To be added to street WhatsApp groups:
whatsapp@obswatch.org.za

ONW general enquiries:
info@obswatch.org.za

ONW membership enquiries:
membershipp@obswatch.org.za

In and around the hotspots (Lower Main Road and Station Road)

Be aware of your situation and the people around you. Stick to popular areas, try not to walk alone at night, and don’t walk around with belongings on show (mobile phone, cameras, headphones etc). When in restaurants and other public spaces, keep your valuables with you and don’t hang your bag over the back of your chair. Don’t leave wallets and cell phones on tables.

ATM crime is prevalent – do not allow your card out of sight, do not ever accept help from a stranger, and if your card gets stuck, do not move away from the ATM but follow the instructions on the ATM.

Please call the OBSID 24 hour control room on 021 447 1066 to report incidents or to request a walk-home service.

Think before you give money to someone on the street – rather consider giving your time, used clothing, non-perishable food items or money to organisations working with this community. Many of those living on the streets do have other places to stay, but choose to remain on the streets in order to pay for and feed their substance use disorder and earn an easy living.

By handing out cash, you’re often handing out a problem – to the person with a substance dependency, to those walking by who have to deal with antisocial behaviour, to the cleaning teams who often get called out to clean up human waste and mess, to law enforcement and SAPS officials who have their time taken up attending to petty crime and bylaw violations and to the shop owners who have premises on the busy streets of Observatory where those living on the streets tend to congregate.

Befriending a homeless person whilst you’re staying in Observatory might make you feel good – but be cautious! Don’t let people you don’t know well into your house, don’t hand out your personal details and remember – you get to go home and carry on with your life, that homeless person has to go back to a difficult life on the streets without you.

Think about the longer term impact you might be having – if you really want to help them, speak to us or one of our social development partners about sponsoring meals, access to services, rehabilitation and skills re-training.