The Retreat community feels “safer” after four CCTV cameras were installed at crime hot spots, according to Mark Solomons, chairperson of the Retreat/Steenberg Civic Association, at the official launch of the Real Idea, at Square Hill community hall, on Friday October 21 (“The Real Idea takes off”, Southern Mail, September 14).
The community welcomed these “new eyes” watching crime, which are linked to a control room at a centre at Square Hill community hall, in Retreat.
Guests at the launch included JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, and councillors who had allocated funds from their ward budgets to buy the cameras.
Other stakeholders at the launch were neighbourhood watch members and the businesses who had also contributed funds for the cameras.
Mr Solomons said the Real Idea is not only about installing cameras to “watch” over the areas, but the “real problem” is a “social problem” in the area.
Footage from the cameras was shown and Mr Solomons said feedback from residents indicated that people feel “safer” knowing that there is a camera linked to a control room keeping an eye on the area. “If a lot of people feel safer everything changes. You socialise better and you will allow your kids to play outside.”
Mr Solomons said security company Secu-ritas played an instrumental role in setting up the camera system. “We are grateful to this company for believing in our idea and helping us on a small budget.”
The centre will also be used as a space to uplift the community. One plan is for them to be able to bring their CVs and upload their details on a jobs database. “However, the centre will also be a hub to recreate history of the people in Retreat by acknowledging the community leaders from the past and present,” said Mr Solomons.
For a start, and in an attempt to safeguard these cameras, the civic association named the first camera installed after Christina Killian, former assistant chair of the Retreat Health Committee.
Ms Killian’s son, Pastor Mark Killian accepted the gesture on behalf of his mother, who was feeling sick and couldn’t attend the launch. “My mom started to become a community activist 20 years ago,” he said.
He said she grew up with many challenges and has written a book about her life. “She had a big desire for the community. After my father’s death, she became more involved in the community. She always wanted to become a nurse, that’s why she was involved at Retreat day hospital. She always wanted a 24/7 clinic at the day hospital. Then money was given by a donor from overseas and the Retreat clinic is standing today. I am very proud of my mother, and she doesn’t know that a camera was named after her. This will leave a lasting legacy for the Killians and what she has done for the community.”
Mr Solomons said the other cameras are still in the process of being named as they are getting more information on the nominated community leaders.
“We want more people to come forward to come up with ideas and to make the Real Idea their idea.
“We also need funding to sustain this project.
“People are welcome to name a camera after a community leader in their family.
“We also need funding to put up more cameras because we can’t rely on the City, so if anyone wants to contribute they are most welcome.”
For more information call Mr Solomons on 082 258 7944.