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New app being developed for neighbourhood watches

A mobile application aimed at assisting neighbourhood watches to access services and share information at the press of a button is being developed by the City of Cape Town.

Local watches are being called on to provide input to ensure the app is effective through an online survey.

The City provides support, training and equipment to watches through the Neighbourhood Watch Support Programme, which was established in 2008 in partnership with the provincial Department of Community Safety.

Apart from the app allowing watches to access services and share information, it also aims to promote networking with enforcement agencies in the hopes of improving community safety.

The online survey invites watches to submit proposals and comment on their needs for the development of the app. This information will be considered and, where possible, implemented in the development of the application.

“Neighbourhood watches best understand the needs of their respective communities,” said JP Smith, Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, “and it is important that we build on our relationship and support one another in these challenging times.

“Neighbourhood watches have an important crime prevention function and we will continue to provide support and training to them. Once the app is approved and operational it will be put to good use and will increase our interaction and accessibility of crime prevention services.”

The mobile app, once operational, will assist watches to manage community operations and communicate with other role-players.

The application can also be used to access specific City services.

During the development process, various operational imperatives have already been addressed and will add value to the voluntary work being done by watch members.

Some of the issues addressed in the development process include assistance with the accreditation process, assisting with Disaster Risk Management activities, access to information sharing, including crime patterns, access to bylaws and legal framework information, managing and distribution of equipment requests for watch members, managing of training requests from both the Department of Community Safety and the City, and possible provision of alerts, including general alerts such as protest action, local alerts such as motor vehicle accidents, missing children alerts, and so on.

Watch members can also create general City C3 service notification requests and incidents directly from the app, which can also be used as an administrative tool, where members can manage shift patrols, duty rosters and time schedules.

To accommodate as many comments and proposals, deadline for submission was extended to last Thursday (3 September).

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