The OH Watch area is primarily served by two armed response companies, CBAR and ADT.
Members of OH Watch have recently asked the neighbourhood watch Exco to provider, as we work closely with both organisations. We would like property owners to make their own decisions, based on the facts that the neighbourhood watch brings to your attention.
OH Watch feels that it is important, however, that residents are made aware of the factual differences between the two main security service providers, in the interest of more effective security in our area.
Some members of the OH Watch Exco recently visited the control rooms of ADT and CBAR to assess their operations.
ADT have stated, in writing, that they will only provide this area with a dedicated vehicle if OH Watch publicly endorses them as our security provider of choice. This in spite of the fact that ADT’s customer base runs into several hundreds in our area and a dedicated vehicle should be provided. We have refused to provide this endorsement, in line with our stated policy. This means that it is unlikely that we will get a dedicated vehicle from ADT in the foreseeable future, even though it is justified in terms of their revenue base. The vehicle marked “Oranjezicht/Higgovale” that residents may have seen around our neighbourhood also patrols the Tamboerskloof and Vredehoek areas, and is thus not truly a dedicated vehicle. This obviously can, and has, impacted on response times.
CBAR has a real time tracker system that allows their dispatchers to see exactly where their vehicles are all the time on a map of the area displayed on a TV monitor. This allows CBAR to dispatch the closest vehicle to the scene of an incident. ADT does not have a similar system available to their dispatchers, which means that the vehicle dispatched to an incident is not necessarily the closest. Although ADT does have a tracker system, this is primarily used “after the fact” when investigating slow response times, etc. We see this difference between the two companies as being significant. ADT have informed us that they have a new state-of-the-art tracker system being piloted in Pretoria. This will eventually be introduced in Cape Town. We do not have a firm time-line on this and neither have we seen its capability.
CBAR also has a paramedic on their team, which ADT has not.
ADT’s standard contract is for a period of three years, and is drafted so as to be extremely difficult to break. Not all ADT subscribers are aware of this. However, ADT have indicated that they are willing to enter into negotiations with their subscribers, and to treat each case “on its merits”. Long standing ADT clients will not have signed the more onerous contract. CBAR’s standard contract is for one year. OH Watch believes that the new Consumer Protection Act will prevent the signing of three year contracts, particularly if the term of the contract is not expressly brought to the subscriber’s attention. ADT have no plans to change their contracts before the new legislation is promulgated.
OH Watch urges all residents to let us know what their experiences of ADT and CBAR have been, both positive and negative. We can then share relevant information with all residents.