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26 January 2012 at 15:41 - Posted by Anonymous

Hidden eyes on the street lead to exposure


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The CCTV surveillance crew saw a man who appeared to be intoxicated get into his car on the corners of Long and Pepper Streets. Metro police found the man behind the wheel. He was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving

An increase in the number of staff monitoring the city’s CCTV camera network has led to a spike in the number of offences detected.

Between July and December, 5 030 incidents were recorded. The figure has increased by 1 476 compared to the same period in 2010.

City of Cape Town statistics reveal that criminal activities made up the biggest number, with 1 826 incidents in the last six months. Traffic violations accounted for 1 826, bylaw offences 287, fire 291, and 1 470 categorised as “other”.

Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director for safety and security, said in July a two-year contract was entered into with a private company.

The contract included 21 extra surveillance staff. Four extra cameras had also been added to the operation since July, bringing the total to 800.

“This means that more people are doing surveillance, and therefore more incidents are being detected,” said Bosman.

 

With more eyes on city streets, metro police have been able to take immediate action against offenders.

On Tuesday, staff picked up an intoxicated man who was seen getting into a car. Within minutes, the metro police camera response unit descended on the scene. The man had already started the engine, and was about to drive off when the officers arrested him on suspicion of drunk driving. Earlier this month, three suspects wanted by police were arrested in two separate incidents in Woodstock. Both were caught on camera while engaged in housebreaking activities.

The unit made 506 arrests during 2011. The most arrests, 57, were made in August. During that month 906 incidents were captured on camera.

Bosman said most of the arrests made were for drug offences. He said 170 drug-related arrests had been made over the last six months through CCTV camera detection. The bulk of these was reported to Cape Town police station.

Currently, Vanguard Drive, Long and Loop Streets in the CBD are being monitored extensively. The Mitchells Plain and Bellville public transport interchanges have also had a number of incidents.

JP Smith, mayoral committee (Mayco) member for safety and security, said the cameras had been a huge success and that the roll-out to various areas would continue.

Next year, Athlone CBD and Bellville are set to receive extra cameras. Smith said it was part of the budget each year.

He said that London officials were due to visit the city in March to learn more about the technical aspects of the CCTV cameras. In London, law enforcement officials use auto-recording and when needed, the footage is retrieved and used for prosecution purposes. - Cape Argus

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