8 January 2021

Where safety is a priority

Safety is not only a key focus at Waterfall – it is one of its Core Values. And by employing the latest security technologies along with tactical response teams, Waterfall aims to provide a luxury money cannot buy: peace of mind.

Safety and security is a prime driver behind estate living, and as 7-time winner of the best mixed-use development in South Africa, Waterfall continues to focus on creating what can be considered a ‘criminally unfriendly’ area, to ensure that the development is as safe as possible not only for its residents, but also for everyone living and working in Waterfall.

With a fully integrated security system that includes access control at every residential estate, business park, logistics precinct and major retail centres, as well as a 24/7 surveillance and reaction service that is supported by a state-of-the-art central management office, Waterfall takes its safety procedures seriously.

Additional measures include 24-hour patrolled security and CCTV cameras, with close to 1 000 in the various residential estates and 400 in the CBD alone. All cameras across the development as well as street-lighting in Waterfall City have back-up power, should outages occur.

On 1 December 2019, Waterfall’s Public Space Security Surveillance System went live, with the aim to enable a thorough crime detection and prevention strategy throughout various common areas of the Waterfall precinct. According to Thys Redelinghuys, General Manager of the Waterfall Common Services Company, the purpose of this project is to extend the already strong safety measures in place within the residential estates and Waterfall City, and take this into the public space as well.

“As a continued progression of the public space project, some of the infrastructure that we now have includes a 24/7 control room, 20 strategically placed surveillance points and a total of 113 cameras with numberplate and facial recognition abilities. We also have several tactical response vehicles with armed and highly trained personnel that can immediately respond to any incident, should one occur. And of course, we have a good working relationship with the SAPS and Metro police,” he says.

“The main control room is linked to other control rooms within Waterfall, such as those at the entrances to the residential developments and directly to the tactical response vehicles. This means that with any incident, wherever in Waterfall it takes place, our security teams will attend to the problem immediately.”

Redelinghuys explains that as the development also maintains close relationships and shares information with the surrounding areas, like Sunninghill, Barbeque Downs and Buccleuch, it creates an even wider region of safety. “With this extended network, criminals skipping from one suburb to the next will still not be out of reach.”

He adds that the control room is also connected to a national database of information. This means that when a stolen vehicle or a vehicle which has been involved in a previous crime enters the Waterfall area, the Waterfall control room is alerted immediately and can follow that vehicle and dispatch a response unit if needed.

“We read a total of around three million number plates per month with our various surveillance cameras, and out of these, our system generates, on average, 195 suspicious vehicle alerts per month. The control room also monitors key points for suspicious pedestrian behaviour. Intersections, for example, are monitored as people loitering have been known to smash and grab.”

The evolution of technology is also helping to improve the security situation and project progress, says Redelinghuys, pointing out that having analytical software built into the cameras means they become smarter. This results in the system being capable of quickly picking up suspicious activity on its own.

“Just as we are constantly upgrading the technology used within Waterfall, so too are we upgrading our safety and security procedures, as the development expands. For example, we will soon be installing public surveillance on the new Waterfall Boulevard that runs through the Munyaka development and we are also busy with a proof of concept in the Woodmead commercial district. Additionally, we are looking to expand the number of tactical response vehicles used, to cover an ever-increasing area. It is our belief that our continuous efforts will significantly increase the safety of the Waterfall precinct and that of all who live and work here or visit Waterfall,” he concludes.