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Tech makes gains in arresting crime in inner city Joburg

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 26 Jul 2019
Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson of the JMPD.
Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson of the JMPD.

Technology is seeing the City of Johannesburg make some gains over criminal activity in SA’s economic hub.

This week, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba released the city’s crime stats for June, saying the newly launched Integrated Intelligence Operation Centre (IIOC) Reaction Unit, which focuses on crimes through closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring specifically in the inner city, made over 50 arrests last month for crimes relating to robbery, hijacking, theft, as well as being in possession of unlicensed firearms.

Launched in May, the IIOC is aimed at integrating all municipal data on a single platform, in a bid to enable better decision-making between the city’s emergency and law enforcement teams, using technology.

Set up at the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) headquarters in Martindale, the nerve centre is powered by an extensive broadband network, which enables high-quality access to Internet-delivered services.

A key role of the IIOC is to host and monitor the JMPD’s newly introduced quick-reaction, anti-crime unit which, at launch, deployed 80 officers and up to 400 CCTV surveillance cameras in the city’s hotspots, to combat crime.

CCTV cameras picked up an attempted sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman in Rosettenville on 10 July. A reaction team arrived within minutes and prevented the assault.

In an interview with ITWeb, Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson of the JMPD, said the IIOC reaction unit was established on 14 May.

“The unit comprises 120 JMPD officers who do not wear uniform. They wear civilian clothes and drive mainly unmarked patrol vehicles. Operators who monitor the city’s CCTV cameras are in direct radio contact with this unit, which operates 24/7,” Minnaar explained.

“There are over 400 cameras in the CBD of Johannesburg and adjacent areas. The unit has arrested more than 150 suspects for crimes that included smash-and-grab attacks, assault, murder, rape, armed robbery, mugging, theft of vehicles and hijacking.”

To ensure the integrated intelligence centre works efficiently, the city says an extensive broadband network powers the IIOC. This, according to the city, is its single largest spot with such an extensive bandwidth.

Access to broadband connectivity helps the city facilitate information sharing, stimulate economic development, and improve health services and security. Using smart technologies enables the city to plan adequately, pre-empt deterrents in its work and improve overall service delivery.

Sexual assault prevented by CCTV cameras in Johannesburg.

The City of Johannesburg has invested more than R1.3 billion to establish the Johannesburg Broadband Network (JBN), a 900km fibre broadband network.

The city took a strategic decision to invest in the development of the JBN, to cater for its internal telecommunications requirements at a reduced cost, as well as to stimulate social and economic development in the city.

Besides being a driver of growth and development, the broadband network was also pegged as the initiative that will cement the City of Johannesburg's true smart city status.

The IIOC fuses countless streams of complex data and information, which is readily made available for analysis and better decision-making, says Neani Mulaudzi, a network operations manager at the Metro Trading Company, a city-owned entity charged with the deployment of broadband.

In future, he notes, the IIOC will serve as a modern data centre, allowing seamless interoperability, transmission, sharing and exchange of data packets between all city-owned entities.

“Once all entities have been connected to the nerve centre, they will have reliable information or intelligence for virtually all critical decision-making, be it new infrastructure projects, hiring of key personnel, service delivery improvements, safety and security or responding to a crisis,” says Mulaudzi.