Cooperation and mentoring between business owners should not just concentrate on business management advice – it can also focus on safety and security tips.
So believes local security company Fidelity ADT. They say that in the same way that communities and private residents should help each other be safe, so should shop owners, entrepreneurs and SMMEs work with each other.
“It boils down to forming a united front,” says Fidelity ADT’s Jade Hanning, district manager (Cape Town South).
“Not all businesses owners have the kind of capital budget to invest in high tech security systems, but they can already make a huge difference by sharing experiences and information with other owners in the same area. They are often the first people to see if something is wrong at your premises which make them the ideal partners in the fight against crime. They are also the first ones to raise the alarm if they see any suspicious activity in your community”.
If you have just opened a shop in a new suburb, Hanning recommends making the effort to meeting the people who also operate in the area as soon as possible and sharing contact details with them. They could also provide useful advice on existing community safety organisations in the area.
Not all communities have the energy or appetite to set up a formal neighbourhood watch, but this did not mean that there was nothing residents and business owners could do in terms of organising themselves.
“If you don’t have a community watch, we suggest setting up regular meetings with the local SAPS to workshop ideas on how you could assist them in keeping the area safe. It could be as simple as just sharing tips and advice and having a reliable list of contact details for each other. The point is – we all have a part to play and we simply can no longer be idle bystanders when it comes to our own safety,” says Hanning.
He strongly urges anyone who lives in an area where a neighbourhood or community watch has already been set up, to become involved with the organisation as a matter of urgency. The involvement could take many forms – from becoming a patroller to offering monetary or logistical admin support.
“The men and women of the South African Police Services simply cannot be everywhere all the time. Neighbours – whether they are private residents or business owners – that care about each other and become active participants in the safety of their suburb can make a massive difference,” says Hanning.
“If we stand together with our next-door neighbours and fellow business owners and look after each other, we can make our suburbs ‘no-go zones’ for criminals”.
Issued by Fidelity ADT Security