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Surveillance technology works hard for Cape Town

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 03 Sept 2021

Technology is seeing the City of Cape Town make good gains on clamping down on escalating crime in the city.

In a statement, the city says operators monitoring its closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras detected just over 15 000 criminal incidents in the last financial year.

This, according to the city, is 1 509 more incidents compared to the previous financial year.

“There is huge emphasis on the role of CCTV cameras as a tool to fight crime, and while this is the case, it is also important to highlight the other uses of this technology, like detecting fires, motor vehicle accidents and other incidents where lives or property are potentially at risk, and dispatching the correct resources to the exact location of the incident,” says mayoral committee member for safety and security alderman JP Smith.

“As we expand our network, we have also started seeing the benefit of CCTV surveillance in helping to address cable theft and other critical infrastructure. It offers a range of possibilities and greatly enhances the capabilities of enforcement agencies, our emergency and rescue personnel, and more.”

The city says over the last two financial years, it increased its CCTV camera surveillance network by 52 more cameras, bringing the total number of cameras from 783 in 2019/20 to 835 in 2020/21.

It notes the additional cameras helped it record the “highest number” of arrests made courtesy of CCTV detection. These were 66 for drug-related offences, 26 for theft, 25 for cable theft, 22 for theft out of motor vehicles and 22 related to protest action/public violence.

For both periods under review, November was identified as the month and Friday as the day with the highest number of incidents.

Smith adds: “We’ve noted a significant drop in detections overnight. This is likely due to the impact of the lockdown and the various curfews that have been in place since March last year. Our officials analyse these trends and incidents not only out of interest, but also because it is very useful to our enforcement services as it can help determine deployment patterns, and the number of resources to deploy.

“What is also encouraging is the increase in arrests related to cable theft. There were only three such arrests two years ago, and in the last year, we increased this number eightfold.”