The Lynnwood Community Association (LCA), a section 21 company, was formed in February 2007 following an informal start in November of 2006. The aim of the LCA is to create a safe and crime-free environment for the residents of Lynnwood North by means of a mobile and static guard service. Lynnwood North comprises the area North of Lynnwood Road, West of the N1, East of the University hostels and South of the University’s Experimental farm.
The mobile service consists of three patrol managers who roam the area on a 24/7 basis in a clearly LCA- identified vehicle with flashing roof light and who also control the static guards positioned at the five entrances to the area at night. The mobile service provides high visibility and vigilance in the area, with the accent on pro-active action such as open gates and garages and observing and challenging vagrants, suspicious vehicles and wanderers in the streets and parks and around shops, businesses and residences. Through a dedicated 0861 number, residents are in contact with the control centre which is staffed 24/7 with well trained staff who are also in direct contact with the local Police and security companies operating in the area.
All the static guards are at least C-grade PSIRA qualified and they are in constant radio contact with the vehicle and the control room. At night, the entrances are secured through booms and concertinas which enable the guards to observe and check all vehicles and pedestrians entering and exiting the area.
Residents can, and do, request a roaming guard to escort them home at night and are also urged to report any suspicious activities/vehicles/persons to the control room which will immediately despatch the vehicle to investigate. It is our experience that in the majority of emergencies reported, the LCA was first on the scene by virtue of the patrollers’ presence in the area.
Any security initiative requires the full support and involvement of the community and action can be much improved if the residents act as the eyes and ears of the community. The LCA feels that residents pay for the service, they must use it!
The LCA is a partnership between the residents, the security service providers and, through the CPF (Community Policing Forum), with the Brooklyn Police Precinct in which area Lynnwood North falls. Regular meetings are held through means of the CPF where residents are apprised of the latest developments on the crime front and where the community can alert the SAPD of their concerns and as to actions required.
The activities of the LCA over the last four years have no doubt contributed largely to the relatively low incidence of crime in Sector 1—the Lynnwood North area. It is the sector in the Brooklyn Policing Precinct with constantly the lowest level of crime of all the areas. Unfortunately, the SAPD has placed a moratorium on the publication of any crime stats, but at every Sector 1 CPF meeting, it is always stated that “Lynnwood North has the lowest incidence of crime”—and this we can endorse.
There are many plans for the future (funds permitting!) e.g. (1st priority) to station guards at the entrances during the day as well, a camera network to monitor activities in the area, radio communication between residents, a news channel and (more long term), possibly to secure the area by an electrified fence around it. The biggest challenge is to enrol more members—present membership has stabilised at around 300+ or slightly more than 54% of the total residences in the area. There are a few closed communities in the area with which we have an excellent cooperation.
In the final analysis, security remains the responsibility of each resident. The LCA tries to assist as much as possible and with the cooperation of all members, we have achieved much over the last four years. Many residents have built up a good personal relationship with the patrolling guards and staff in the control room which has also contributed to our successes and a high level of sense of security in the area.