New BNW APP
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A Ballito Neighbourhood Watch (BNW) app has been released which is designed to be your first port of call in community security incidents. The existing BNW ICE and street clusters group will remain operational for a period until residents had an opportunity to download the new App and got familiar with the functionality.
It is not meant to replace the job that your security company does, but it does have a panic button functionality as its primary feature.
“The panic button checks your geolocation so that there can be a fast response time in an emergency.
The call will first go to your primary security company, then to a cluster of security groups if there is no response and to a designated switchboard if there is still no answer. It is designed so that there are a number of fail-safes.
The app was a response to complaints by residents that much of the constant communication over community groups was often of little relevance to safety concerns.
You will now be able to find information as needed on the following topics: street lights, monkeys, snakes, pot holes, water leaks, pets, fire, suspicious vehicles and crime.
These notifications can be turned on or off so that you are only receiving what you have chosen, and do not have to sift through pages of information in WhatsApp groups.
“There is also a functionality which will notify residents of an ongoing event if it is near their home, for example if a suspected criminal vehicle is picked up by one of our number plate SNIPR cameras.”
There is an add such as “people of interest” feature which carries known criminals’ details and photographs for easy identification.
Residents will be able to use the app for free until the end of February, after which they will have to join the BNW for a yearly household membership fee of R250.
These fees go towards app support as well safety initiatives such as the Ballito/Salt Rock automatic numberplate recognition cameras that have been installed, said Steffens.
The app is intended to eventually replace the neighbourhood watch WhatsApp groups now in use.
To download the app go to www.ballitonw.org.za and select BNW Reporter App where you can download the tutorial and select the link for Android or iPhone.
You have to be a resident of the Ballito residential node to join and proof of residence will be required.