Surveillance tech delivers results for Cape Town

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 24 Jul 2023
Cape Town’s CCTV infrastructure grows.
Cape Town’s CCTV infrastructure grows.

Between April and June, the Cape Town metro police’s Strategic Surveillance Unit (SSU) detected 7 339 criminal incidents.

This, notes the city, marks a 108% increase compared to the same period last year, when 3 524 incidents were detected.

The increase in detection is the result of installing additional closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, including introducing area-specific control rooms and information-sharing with other enforcement and security agencies, it explains.

The detected incidents include crime, vandalism, motor vehicle accidents, fires and miscellaneous incidents.

In a statement, the city says additional CCTV cameras have been installed in areas like Bishop Lavis, Delft, Nyanga, Mitchell’s Plain and Kraaifontein.

“Apart from the growing camera network, our SSU has put in a lot of work to extract more value from its camera network. Thanks to improved information-sharing with local police stations, our CCTV operators can do more effective monitoring in the right areas, and at the right times,” says alderman JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security.

“We’ve also introduced refresher training for operators, and deployed experienced enforcement staff to the control rooms to help guide operators, and we have implemented improved work flows around the dispatching of units to an incident, using our integrated emergency policing incident command platform. As we fine-tune these processes in the coming months, it is expected that the arrest rate too will increase.”

The SSU has grown its CCTV infrastructure to more than 1 100 installations, it reveals.

Earlier this year, the city said its tech-driven crime fight will receive a financial boost, earmarking R48 million in additional funding for various tech interventions.

It noted this will go towards additional and replacement CCTV cameras around the city in the new financial year, as well as gunshot detection technology.

According to the city, in one of the most recent projects, a dozen cameras were installed at various points along Baden Powell Drive, to the value of R4.2 million, and will go live in due course.

During the 2022/2023 financial year, new installations, valued at over R33 million, included five sites in Harare, Khayelitsha, with 15 cameras; as well as installations in Hanover Park, Manenberg, Mitchell’s Plain, Ocean View, Lotus Park, Parow and Goodwood, with added surveillance to the infrastructure of Nolungile and Nonqubela stations.

Furthermore, deployment of cameras will continue during the 2023/2024 financial year in Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Nyanga and Kraaifontein, which have been identified as areas that require CCTV to reduce public area crimes.

“The expansion of our CCTV network and investment in other technologies is but one aspect. We are also working on expanding digital evidence-gathering, storage and analytics into the future, and integrating systems and information not just across departments within the city, but external agencies too. The ideal would be to seamlessly share resources and information as we work towards a common goal of increased safety in our city,” notes Smith.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng province kicked-off the installation of facial recognition CCTV cameras in Diepsloot in May.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi last week commented via Twitter that the province’s project of installing “high-quality” CCTVs is “shaping up nicely”.

“We are determined to fight crime, corruption and lawlessness. A better and safer Gauteng is rising,” read the premier’s tweet, alongside a picture of a control centre.