Safeguard Security has introduced regular night patrols between 5.30 pm and 5.30 am in a number of northern Harare suburbs that had seen an upsurge in crime in the course of this year.
The patrols were introduced after discussions with residents about crime in each of these areas, Safeguard Alarms managing director Reason Chitiva explained. He said the patrols seem to have been successful in deterring criminals from preying on householders in these areas.
“During this 12 hour night patrol, our rapid response teams drive around these neighbourhoods to keep an eye on what is happening.
“If they see any suspicious vehicles parked by the roadside late at night or individuals carrying bags late at night or in the early hours of the morning, they approach them to investigate why they are there.
“If a car remains parked by the side of the road for a long time, our team will check if it is occupied. If it is, a member of the team will politely ask if everything is alright.
“If members of the response team are not convinced and remain suspicious, they may suggest to the occupants that they move on. If they refuse to do so, they may suggest that the police will be contacted to come and find out the reason for their presence there.
“This alone will generally deter the occupants from staying and in most cases prevent anything sinister from happening,” Mr Chitiva added.
He said that if individuals were found walking on the street carrying bags at an hour when most people would be in bed they would be asked where they were going and what they were carrying.
“It is highly unlikely that anyone would be walking around innocently with bags at 2 am or 3 am,” Mr Chitiva said.
If the individuals were uncooperative and the team was suspicious that they might be carrying stolen goods, then it would contact the police.
“The patrols also watch out for gates being left open with no evidence of anyone close to them. If we find a client’s gate open in the early hours of the morning, we will contact the client to advise him or her of this and check that everything is okay,” he said.
Mr Chitiva said the patrol vehicles go around the areas on a random basis and keep in touch with Safeguard’s central monitoring centre.
“There is always communication between the patrol team members and the control room to ensure support can be provided quickly if required.
“The major benefit of the patrols is that they deter thieves and burglars from trying to steal in these monitored areas, as the chances of their being caught are high. This gives the residents the peace of mind of knowing that Safeguard is keeping watch over the area while they sleep.
“It is also reassuring for those who work late and arrive home late at night to know there is a patrol team in their neighbourhood and that they need not worry unduly about their security when they reach home,” Mr Chitiva added.
Mr Chitiva went on to say that it was also reassuring for its customers to know that Safeguard was close by in case of a medical emergency.
Safeguard has partnered with Ace Air and Ambulance so that its rapid response customers only have to press a panic button in a medical emergency for Safeguard to arrange for an Ace ambulance and paramedics to attend them, without their having to pay cash upfront or produce a medical aid card. The Safeguard response team patrolling the area will also come immediately to do what it can to help.
Safeguard also has a relationship with the fire department in case any of its rapid response customers needs assistance in the event that a fire breaks out.
“The major purpose of our night patrols in certain neighbourhoods is to deter burglars and robbers from preying on residents in these areas. It is a preventative measure. It seems that it is being effective in reducing the incidence of burglaries in these areas,” Mr Chitiva said.