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Pair launch Durban citizen alert system

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DAILY NEWS

Marco Accolla and Wally Coombe, fed up with hearing the horror stories from victims of crimes, have decided to take their community policing activities up a notch. Photo: Sibusiso Ndlovu

Durban - Say you’re driving to your favourite coffee shop. As you approach, distracted by thoughts of what you’re going to order, you are blinded by flashing blue lights.

There are several police officers on the road, waving you and other motorists away.

They, like you, are craning their necks to see what is going on, beyond the crush of policemen and crime-scene tape.

The next day, you hear that an attempted hijacking had taken place right next to your intended destination. And the armed assailant, attempting to flee, had been shot by police on the coffee shop’s doorstep.

It is this kind of scenario that KZN Commwatch founders Marco Accolla and Wally Coombe want to help people all over Durban avoid.

The pair launched the initiative called KZN Commwatch, which uses Twitter as an alert system, notifying citizens of a crime or accident in the areas they frequent.

The pair started the Glenmore community policing structure known as Glenmore COPS 17 years ago.

“The initiative was started when the local tearoom owner and good friend, Peter Kostourous, was murdered at the shop (Glenmore Supply Store) 17 years ago,” said Accolla.

Coombe said: “The question often came up regarding how to warn others. If, for example, someone’s house had just been robbed, they often wondered how to get the message out.”

That’s where the organisation came in.

Residents of Glenmore, Glenwood, Umbilo and Morningside can now post details of an attack or accident via the group’s website, www.kzncommwatch.co.za

The information is first verified through the police and then shared with the group’s followers via the Twitter account @KZNCommwatch.

The website was launched on May 28.

Daily News


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