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Software helps report incidents in CT's CIDs

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The ability to predict and prevent crime makes it possible for CIDs to become far more proactive in their service delivery, says Solution House's Tiaan Janse van Rensburg.
The ability to predict and prevent crime makes it possible for CIDs to become far more proactive in their service delivery, says Solution House's Tiaan Janse van Rensburg.

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 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 protective services company Securitas using locally-developed incident management software called Incident Desk from Cape Town-based software company Solution House.

Incident Desk is an 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 few mobile-enabled incident management systems on the market today, says Solution House.

According to Jeremy Horner, business development director at Securitas SA, 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, he says.

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, 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."

"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."

According to Horner, one of the main challenges Securitas faces 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, smartphone 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 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 SA.

The urban management activities and incidents range from crime, crime prevention, municipal services, medical emergencies, traffic and car accidents, management of estate developments and facilities management, says Solution House.

"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, says Janse van Rensburg.

The goal is for the solution to be used by almost any kind of service request and to make life simpler for the service provider while reducing the cost of providing the service, he notes.

Recently, Solution House and At The Gate deployed an integrated solution to reinforce access control and security for Century City Property Owners Association, the body responsible for the day-to-day running of Century City, a 250ha mixed-use development in Cape Town.

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