Cameras stunt break-ins

Reports of house break-ins are down in Tamboerskloof, with the local neighbourhood watch’s licence plate recognition cameras having played a big part.

Announced at the TBK Watch’s recent annual general meeting, house break-ins have seen a drop since last year.

In addition, the cost of crime in the neighbourhood has dropped 24%, which equates to over R11m.

TBK Watch chairperson Thorsten Klingelhoeffer explains the financial cost of property crime is calculated based on the replacement value of goods stolen.

“When property crime is lower – specifically high-end car-driven crime – the replacement value of goods stolen in that period is less. A person on foot might carry one laptop or a phone and he would have to offload the goods quickly; a car can carry a lot more, hit more areas in one crime spree and travel further to offload the goods.”

The area’s street cameras record the licence plates of cars travelling through, immediately alerting law enforcement agencies should a car linked to criminal activity be identified.

The cameras have been installed in several suburbs, including Sea Point, Camps Bay, Devil’s Peak, and Constantia. Cars can be tracked through the network and criminals can be arrested when entering another area with cameras.

The camera network allows for advance warning, with alerts sent out when a car registered on the database – which spans networks throughout the peninsula – drives past a camera.

“These vehicles trigger an alert as they enter an area, giving the local response teams advance warning and a chance to take the recommended action. The presence of cameras can be a deterrent, especially to career criminals,” Klingelhoeffer says.

In addition, the network helps in catching criminals after a crime.

“When an entire area is ring-fenced by cameras, it is simple enough to pinpoint probable crime vehicles leaving a street or area after an incident. The camera teams work closely with the police and there have been some good results, including arrests, based on camera information.”

House break-ins did show a decrease for the financial year in the Tamboerskloof residential area, confirms Cape Town Central police spokesperson Captain Ezra October.

“Licence plate recognition cameras did improve the communication between the police and the Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch and we’ve seen numerous arrests executed with the assistance of the cameras,” he says. “The improved communication resulted in improvement in the prevention of crime in the area.”

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