Cape Town’s CCTV system nails car and cable thieves

Cape Town’s strategic surveillance unit has detected more than 15,000 incidents over the last financial year.

The City’s media office said the CCTV surveillance system detected 1,509 more incidents during 2020/21 than 2019/20.

The increase in detection appears to have resulted from the addition of 52 cameras to their surveillance ranks, increasing from 783 to 835 cameras during the last financial year.

A similar system, Vumacam, aided Fidelity Services in recovering 19 stolen vehicles in Gauteng between March and June this year.

Alderman JP Smith, Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, highlighted that the CCTV system also detects other incidents while working to fight crime.

“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,” he said.

“Then of course there is the potential for it to be used in aiding the prosecutions authority, or the police in their investigations.”

“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.”

The department that monitors the CCTV system provided assistance across five incident categories, including:

  • 66 drug-related arrests
  • 26 arrests for theft
  • 25 arrests for cable theft
  • 22 arrests for theft out of a motor vehicle
  • 22 arrests related to public violence

“It offers a range of possibilities and greatly enhances the capabilities of enforcement agencies, our emergency and rescue personnel, and more,” Smith said.

“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.”

Smith is encouraged by the increase in arrests relating to cable theft.

“There were only three such arrests two years ago, and in the last year, we increased this number eight-fold,” he said.

According to the City’s media office, November has the highest occurrence of incidents, with the majority occurring between 15:00 and 21:00.

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Cape Town’s CCTV system nails car and cable thieves