Urban Management and Public Safety are key to the VRCID’s success. The organisation relies on many unsung heroes, not least its four Precinct Managers. They oversee a vast area, through which over 400 000 people stream in and out of the Central Business District (CBD) of Bellville and Parow each day.
Precinct Manager for parts of the Parow CBD and Bellville, Bradley Abrahams, gains the most value from his job when he’s able to see the results of his hard work: “from a social development point of view, what makes my day is when we can identify an addict or someone who’s vulnerable, and walk that road with them as the VRCID and social development team. Since we identify these people, we cover the start of their journey, which means a lot to me. The cases that are followed through lead to people that are grateful, and it lifts you and gives you a reason to come and do what you do every day.
From a business point of view, our responsibility is to the businesses owners who support the VRCID. If they have a specific problem with crime around their building, we can put things in place to prevent that from happening again. When you can do something about it, and it’s in your control, it’s very rewarding. You get the satisfaction of using your resources and the client is happy because their problem is solved.”
With his responsibility lying in three areas – social upliftment, cleansing, and public safety, – every single day there’s something to attend to, whether it’s in one precinct or all four precincts. There are hotspots in every precinct, so he focuses heavily on these areas and monitors them each day.
During his patrols, he checks up on his cleansing team to ensure everyone’s doing their job to the best of their ability. Ultimately, he must be tuned into all irregularities in his area, to look out for suspicious characters, and then radio the VRCIDs 24hour control room to keep an eye out for them. He goes to clients for courtesy visits, to ask if there are any concerns, or if a customer has called in, he immediately goes to follow up with them.
“Our LPR system is incredible,” says Bradley. The LPRCLOUD SA™ system is essentially a LICENSE PLATE CLOUD™ which approaches 2 billion license plates centrally stored on their private cloud. “This LPR system is placed in the whole of the Western Cape, so a suspicious number plate can be tracked in VRCID’s LPR system. We can trace a specific vehicle’s location, all based on its registration number. So, if a crime is committed in an area outside the VRCID, the vehicle can be traced to help the police know where to search.
To help us identify these suspicious vehicles, we rely on information from the public and our partners as well as from our internal team. We rely on as much information as possible from the community; we can’t do what we do without them” continues Bradley.
“I’ll never forget, there was a student protest involving around 200 students at one of the student housing campuses on Voortrekker Road, protesting about fees for studies and accommodation. The SAPS, our VRCID team, Traffic and Law Enforcement all had to be on the scene to be on standby in case the protest became violent or dangerous. It felt really rewarding to be a part of that change happening in this country, and to assist in the safety and security of these students and the public; something that’s so needed in South Africa,” concludes Bradley.