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Western Cape Improvement Districts get timely software and security boost

Tiaan Janse van Rensburg, Solution House. Tiaan Janse van Rensburg, Solution House.

Residents living and working in Cape Town’s progressive City Improvement Districts (CIDs) have been boosted by the introduction of new software that promises to improve security and overall maintenance services.

CIDs are demarcated management zones or special rates area (SRA) approved by the City of Cape Town, where the majority of property owners (business and residential) contribute a nominal additional fee for top-up value-add services like security patrols, cleansing services and urban maintenance.

The majority of Cape Town’s major CIDs – namely Groote Schuur, Claremont, Wynberg, Voortrekker Road, Observatory and Woodstock – are now managed by global protective services company Securitas using locally-developed incident management software called Incident Desk from Cape Town-based South African software company Solution House. 

According to Securitas South Africa business development Director, Jeremy Horner, larger CIDs average 2,000 to 3,000 incident reports a month, so the company needed a way to consolidate its incident reports and integrate multiple monitoring and reporting systems both within and between the various CIDs on its books. 

“We deliver these services in support of – and in collaboration with – City-funded resources like the South African Police and Metro Police, so we’re complementing rather than replacing their functions in these areas,” says Horner. “To do so effectively, however, requires substantial logistical resources, including powerful software tools like Incident Desk that help us record, manage and report on all the data we need to manage in each CID.”

Horner says that while CIDs have become one of the major success factors in the upliftment of Western Cape communities, they also generate enormous amounts of data and deploy many different systems – both manual and electronic.

“Effective management means staying ahead of the curve when it comes to knowing what your customers need from you, be it from a security perspective or any other service they pay to receive,” he says.

“One of the main challenges we face from a management perspective is breaking down the silos of information not only within a CID, but also between CIDs, because issues that affect one CID often spill over into an adjacent district. This is where Incident Desk, with its consolidated view, smart phone app and ability to process information from different systems and management areas in real time, comes into its own.”

Solution House director Tiaan Janse van Rensburg says public safety management is a good example because urban management companies often have to deal with many interrelated challenges such as social services, maintenance and by-laws.

“Using a single system that allows us to aggregate incident reports from these various sources and quickly see where, when and how often certain crimes take place in demarcated areas within a CID allows us to identify trends and ‘hotspots’ and predict when and where we’re likely to see them reoccur,” he says.

“While Incident Desk consolidates information from any number of CIDs, it is actually part of a larger national urban management and public safety solution which centralises information for the whole of South Africa. This ability to predict and prevent crime makes it possible for CIDs to become far more proactive in their service delivery, which ultimately sets them apart from urban management models that are predominantly reactive.”

Incident Desk is a universal incident mapping and management platform that provides estate and security managers with real-time incident alerts, and gives them the ability to record and report live incidents with a unique smartphone application, making it one of the only mobile-enabled incident management systems on the market today.

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