Mixed-use precinct, Bridge City off the Ring Road, north of Durban, still under development, experienced a zero crime incident rate over the most recent holiday shopping season.
This as well as fewer than 10 crime incidents in the past three months is a record few suburbs can boast, says Tongaat Hulett Developments, which owns the land on which Bridge City is being built. The success of the crime prevention strategy has been attributed to proactive safety and security measures instituted by the Bridge City Management Association (BCMA).
“We are patently aware of the potential for criminal elements from the surrounding Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK district) to view Bridge City as a target,” says Iain Laing, precinct manager of the BMCA. “Our efforts are therefore geared to reducing this risk, while at the same time presenting the precinct as a safe and desirable place for commuters and shoppers from surrounding areas as well as the greater eThekwini region.”
The 60ha Bridge City, consisting of retail (Bridge City Shopping Centre opened in 2009), small industrial and residential, as well as a 500 bed state hospital and magistrate’s court, is being developed by Effingham Development Joint Venture. It is also an integral link in the GO! Durban integrated rapid public transport network that includes a rail station and major junction in the bus rapid transport (BRT) system. Bridge City will accommodate an estimated 100,000 commuters daily once it is fully functioning.
The overall security control is performed by a team of security personnel who conduct foot and vehicle patrols 24/7 throughout the development. Laing says the key to managing security on such a scale is to apply a system of visible policing, backed by a proven crime management strategy.
His focus on security measures will increase as more commercial and residential properties are developed, with the aim to produce a co-ordinated security monitoring and response system across all areas. This would include co-ordination with the SA Police Services, as well as security teams that are currently responsible for the Bus Rapid Transit Transport routes and rail station.