At last the Oudevlei entrance section of the Marina da Gama has a security scheme up and running. Mountain Men (MM) started patrolling with 2 guards, 5 nights a week on 1 January. In under a month they have already been directly or indirectly responsible for delivering 4 intruders to our section to the police, one of whom is a criminal well known to both the MM guards and the police. MM head office has provided an incident report for each of 4 separate incidents within a few days of it happening, which I have circulated to all paid up residents with access to email.

These guards are not good ... they are excellent. The MM modus operandi is not just to plant a guard in a hut, to sit there in various states of alertness throughout the night, but rather to actively seek out intruders and remove them from the area, with the help of their armed response vehicle. The hut is considered a base for them to store their belongings, charge their radios and make coffee, not a comfortable place to stay for their 6p.m. to 6a.m. shift, and for this reason it is unlikely that you will find them there. These guys really are serious about fighting crime, not about just taking your money.

They have identified a number of points of weakness in our perimeter, and have suggested ways of solving some of the problems. (One suggestion has already been implemented, and 2 are being worked on at the time of writing.) They monitor these weak points particularly vigilantly.

MM are very accommodating and will move the guards to different nights, or to day shift should the crime pattern change.

The roads which the MM guards patrol are Baalen, Eastlake, Texel, Oudevlei, all of the San Marina roads, and all of the Marina Moorings roads. Uitsig Road and its feeder roads are excluded because they already have a contract with Chubb. All homes which have bought into the scheme will shortly be issued with a MM board which shows the guards (and intruders) which houses are in the scheme and which are not.

Additional services which MM provide are:
  • visual monitoring of the field north of the northern boundary wall (which allows access to the canal) during the day by their mountain-based guard (even though they are not contracted to provide any daytime protection yet)
  • an escort home for people nervous of arriving back to an empty house at night
  • mail box clearance during times of absence
  • access to their 24 hour control room (anyone who has bought into the scheme already has this number) (obviously while we are
  • only employing them 5 nights a week other clients will take priority during the day)
  • support of our neighbourhood watch team on the 2 nights per week that MM guards are not on duty
  • validation of suspicious vehicles in the area
Many homes in Moorings and San Marina are owned by absentee landlords; could I appeal to you on two accounts; firstly please try to keep your houses occupied - unoccupied properties provide the perfect hiding place for criminals waiting to commit their crimes, or for storing their pickings until it is convenient to collect them; and secondly please consider writing into your next contract that the tenant is obligated to belong to the security scheme, as a number of landlords have done already Ė it protects your property and also increases its value.

The cost of joining this scheme was set at R85 per month, (less than R3 per day!) to make it affordable to all. At present we have enough people signed into the scheme to have 2 guards 5 nights per week, but with another 30 people we can add one guard for 5 days per week. As the numbers of people buying into the scheme increases we can get a more extensive service. Having got the scheme up and running, I now need help to take it forward; if you can give up even just an hour of your time please email or sms me as below & Iíll send you the list of tasks with which I need assistance Ė some are once off and some are ongoing.

To join this scheme email me at heidi@mastermaths.co.za or sms me on 084 9583953 (donít phone this number, it is almost always off) stating your street address and Iíll get a form to you; alternatively contact MM (janer@mountainmen.co.za, or 021 7003139), or go to the San Marina website (www.sanmarina.co.za) and download a copy there.
Heidi Vanneck
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