CCTV cameras launched

2020-01-21 06:00
Officers of the law and City of Cape Town officials attend the official launch of Ocean View’s first CCTV cameras. PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

Officers of the law and City of Cape Town officials attend the official launch of Ocean View’s first CCTV cameras. PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

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Residents of Ocean View, the police and the City of Cape Town gathered at an undisclosed location on Thursday 16 January to officially launch Ocean View’s first CCTV camera initiative.

“It is long overdue for us to erect some cameras in Ocean View,” said Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith at the launch.

“This side of the world has long been inaccessible for our CCTV footprint reach because we do not have fibre optic connections here – not that the City can access – and we do not have an easier way to get the wave signal across this mountain.”

The long wait for the roll-out of the surveillance cameras in the area began more than a year ago after a sudden spike in crime. At a community meeting last year, residents expressed their interest in replicating the regenerative effect that camera surveillance has had in Bonteheuwel.

One of the challenges in the far south was that the lack of infrastructure would not allow for the footage to be broadcast into the City’s main control rooms – Cyclops centre in the Foreshore – and at the Eagle Eye station in Goodwood.

The solution was one that has been implemented in Grassy Park, Retreat and other communities: a localised control room manned by trusted residents.

“It’s much appreciated of community members who sacrifice of their personal time to be here and do monitoring of the CCTV cameras,” said Smith.

Some residents expressed concerns regarding who would be entrusted to monitor the camera footage but were assured by Simon Liell-Cock, councillor for ward 61, that processes would be put in place to ensure all stakeholders are able to make their community a safer place.

Another challenge was finding funding for the project. According to Smith, Barry Schuller, Metro police and the City’s director of CCTV and radio communications, repurposed savings from the City to roll out Ocean View’s cameras.

The installation of the five cameras, the setup and the refurbishment of the control room cost the City in the region of R900 000.

Currently, Cape Town has the largest CCTV footprint in South Africa. But cameras alone won’t make a difference, said Smith.

“Cameras are not going to make the community safe,” Smith cautioned. “The camera can see the crime happen but if nothing happens after that, that’s all that happened. That’s why the relationship with the police is important.”

In the future, the City hopes to deploy more law enforcement personnel to Ocean View in order to get enough feet on the ground and actively patrol the area to bring criminals to book.

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