This article forms part of a series focused on community activists who are the ‘Unsung Heroes’ working tirelessly to fight crime.
One Cape Flats crime fighter has found a way to use technology to create greater awareness of criminal activity in his ‘hood’. 47 year old Riyad Adams is the founder of the Western Cape Crime Channel which can be obtained through downloading the Zello Application on a mobile device.
The channel is open to the public, to provide a platform for concerned residents to communicate, with a focus on spreading awareness on criminal activities in certain areas.
“It works a lot like a walkie-talkie. We are trying to get more people from across the Western Cape to download the application so that there can be a wider range of updates on activity around various criminal hot spots,” Adams told VOC.
Currently, the application stands on 2,739 subscribers with twenty four moderators from around the province, including, Adams.
“When this application came through, we realised you can speak directly to people, in real time, who can inform our moderators of suspicious activities happening in respective areas. Our aim is to create different channels for different areas, with moderators taking shifts to monitor the updates and inform the necessary officials who can then act immediately,” Adams says.
For fifteen years, Adams worked as a volunteer at his local police station in Lansdowne. His commitment to addressing the problem of crime in the area sparked the idea to create the crime channel on Zello. The entire application offers real-time communication to report crime, respond to distress calls and to act as eyes & ears for the police.
Adams says he has always seen how crime affects ordinary people’s lives through his years growing up in gang stricken Bontheuwel and has devoted hours of his time, juggling between his day-time job, to monitor and offer his service to ensuring the safety of the community.
“The response from the public has been quite positive. We have been able to unite respective neighbourhood watch groups along with establishing a sound relationship with local police. This way, crime is addressed sooner rather than later. We are able to pick up on trends and identify certain areas in need of police intervention,” Adams said.
“There is something that can be done. I began in the neighbourhood watch and I then went on to become a reservist at the local police station, offering my free time to assist officials. I then realised that there is more that can be done. I went on to receive training to offer victim support, which equipped me with the ability to offer support to victims or perpetrators during a traumatic incident.”
Adams, a devoted husband and father is one of many residents on the cape flats who have taken the initiative to better serve their community and ensure a safer future for the next generation. The WCCC can also be found on Facebook where communities have united to fight crime. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)