Snipr targets crime

2019-04-24 16:00
uMngeni Community Safety Initiative’s Solar Gantry in the Karkloof with only Snipr ANPR cameras.

uMngeni Community Safety Initiative’s Solar Gantry in the Karkloof with only Snipr ANPR cameras.

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The uMngeni community has rallied together to put up a new high-tech camera system to beef up security there.

Unpacking the new security initiative, Debbie Preston, founder and director of the uMngeni Community Safety Initiative (UCSI) board, said they use Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) with Snipr software, to monitor and detect vehicles coming into or leaving the area.

UCSI is a registered non-profit organisation. She said after they launched in November, they have been looking for sponsors to fund the erection of gantries, the steel structure to mount the cameras on, as the project is fully community funded.

The erection of one gantry can cost up to R60 000.

Explaining how the system works, Preston said they get live notifications on their phones when a vehicle that has been involved in a criminal activity is captured on the camera.

“Within seconds we get a message so we are able to dispatch the right law enforcement response to an incident.

“We make sure law enforcement, whether it be the police, flying squad, dog unit, special task teams,Hawks and security companies get the right information,” she said.

uMngeni Municipal officials and uMgungundlovu police being shown how the UCSI system works.

She said UCSI has nine members on its board of directors which is fully representative of all areas under uMngeni Municipality.

“We also have full municipal endorsement from uMngeni Municipality and have met with MEC for Transport and Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, who has shown his support.

“We have also obtained approvals for legally erecting our gantries from the Department of Transport, Sanral and Transnet.’’

Preston said they have two cameras already up, one at Knight Security Solutions, which was their pilot camera, and another at Karkloof.

She said they had 11 pending cameras waiting to be put up at various areas.

The project is broken up into three phases: phase one comprises putting up 26 cameras on all peripheral access and egress routes and approximately 16 more in the outlying areas. Phase two includes 24 cameras at strategic urban internal spaces and phase three would be implemented in the Howick Falls precinct and strategic CDB locations, and would include Safe City-style live monitoring cameras with a control room.

Preston said they have fed information to the police which has led to numerous arrests.

“A vehicle was stolen in Howick West. We knew a green Prada was involved and the registration of the stolen vehicle, so we put the registration into the Snipr system and we were able to pick it up at the gantry located at Knight Security.

“We were able to ascertain the number plate of the green vehicle and uploaded that onto the system.

“The police did a full investigation and in about 24 hours they were able to make arrests and recovered the stolen vehicle.

“We also had an ATM theft at a business entity in Merrivale.

“We loaded the vehicle information onto Snipr and the vehicle was picked up within 48 hours in Umhlanga Rocks and arrests were made.”

Preston thanked the 35 small and large businesses who have sponsored their crime-fighting initiative. Individuals or households in the area are also welcome to make a contribution of as little as R30 per month towards the initiative. “As a community, we can make this work,” she said.

'Support UCSI's efforts' 

Craig Miller, ward 6 Hilton councillor, said he was very excited about the UCSI project as community safety is important to him.

Praising the new camera system, Howick resident Mark Taylor, took to Facebook to share how a robbery that happened last Thursday at a local daycare centre highlighted the importance the community to come together and support UCSI’s efforts in keeping the town safe.

“These cameras that are being put up around our town have already led to a few high-profile arrests.

“Soon criminals will think twice about coming through our town.

For R30 per month we can all be a part of the solution,” said Taylor.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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