With four shopping centres, 33 car dealerships, one casino and two hotels, Riverside Park, a City Improvement District (CID) in Nelspruit, South Africa, offers a wide sphere of activity for tradesmen, investors and proprietors. In city development, the introduction of so called “Business Improvement Districts” is a preferred means to create sustainably managed and attractive environments. Development and management initiatives in spatially clearly defined areas are co-financed by private and municipal funds. Thus, quality of life is improved and the property value is kept up. The property owners and the municipality of Nelspruit applied this concept to the Riverside Park CID.
Apart from cleanliness and an efficient infrastructure, especially security is an important factor for the residents of Riverside Park. To guarantee optimal security, the management of Riverside Park engaged the security company J&M Security in 2011.
Soon it became apparent that the services of security guards alone were not sufficient for the safeguarding of this large area being almost four square kilometres in size. For this reason, the park management decided to add a technical security system to complement the security guards. With the support of the technology partner Reditron, one of the most experienced companies for integral security solutions in South Africa, Riverside Park created a catalogue of requirements which should be met by the new system. The main aim was to reduce crime, with special focus on theft out of motor vehicles, which makes up 64 % of all crime in the CID.
On the recommendation of Reditron, the end customer opted for the implementation of a modern video management solution by the German software manufacturer SeeTec. Especially the modular concept of the SeeTec Multi Solution Platform convinced the customer.
Currently the video system
Its unique system approach serves individual customer wishes, and provides perfectly tailored solutions which are focused on the user’s needs. The pivotal point of the solution is the SeeTec core software: it is platform and producer independent and enables scalable and flexible solutions even for branched systems in extensive areas. An extension of the system – whether due to the implementation of additional cameras or new features – is possible at any time. Additional modules and interfaces with third-party systems, such as access control solutions or burglar alarm systems, may always be added to the core software. The system can be adapted to the current conditions and may be extended anytime.
The new video system is based on the infrastructure already used by J&M. Twenty cameras from different manufacturers were installed in Riverside Park. To avoid constructional changes und to consequently keep the project expenses low, fixed network cabling was dispensed with; instead, the cameras were wirelessly connected to the server via efficient WLAN access points.
Complete surveillance takes place in the CID’s security control room. Day and night the camera images are monitored by two members of the security team on a large screen system. The camera images clearly display the on-site events and enable a detailed representation. The large screen system is controlled by an ordinary client workplace via the display agent function. In the event of an incident, the employees in the control room can accurately assess and quickly prioritise the appropriate response, which enables a resource-efficient deployment of the security personnel on the ground.
Currently the video system takes care of 80% of the surveillance with only 20% requiring intervention by the security officers. In addition to the core software, J&M also makes use of the SeeTec license plate recognition. With the help of this module, the license plates of all cars driving in the area are read, registered and reported to the control room.
Subsequently the license plate numbers are entered into a data base. In the data base, the license plates can be assigned to various groups, which are themselves linked to different actions. Thus license plates defined as suspicious in the system automatically trigger an alarm in the control room. The J&M security team also has limited access to eNatis (The National Traffic Information) – the official traffic data base of the South African Police.
Riverside Park has assumed a
By linking to the database, recorded license plates can be checked and personal information about the vehicle owner can be obtained by the security team. This system together with the LPR allows both parties, J&M and the local police, to cooperate efficiently on criminal activities. On several occasions, recordings have been used as evidence in solving disputes following traffic accidents within the district.
The project was a great financial investment for the private financiers: the implementation cost more than 130,000 €, and thus raised high expectations, which were all met. Shortly after the initial installation of the security solution, crime in the district decreased by 25%.
Renate Scholle, CID Manager of Riverside Park, is extremely satisfied with the result: “Riverside Park has assumed a role model function in the field of security in South Africa, and has demonstrated how customer and resident protection can be ensured in an ideal way. We are very pleased with the solution, and are already planning an extension of the system.”
Gerrie Uys, project coordinator at J&M Security, adds: “Apart from the extension of the LPR modules to gas stations and to the control of entries and exits, a better surveillance of the areas where goods are delivered or loaded is planned. This complies with the strategies of Riverside Park, but also with those of the suppliers and tenants. Shrinkage of goods can thus be minimised, and fraud cases can be captured and substantiated.”
The active dealing with security issues and the solution oriented approach of the property owners has made Riverside Park a paragon model of South African City Improvement Districts. The extension of the system is only a further step in the right direction.