Vumacam’s SafeCity Initiative

Issue 6 2023 Security Services & Risk Management

In an ever-evolving world where technology plays a central role in our lives, leveraging its potential to create safer communities has become a top priority. Vumacam’s SafeCity Initiative stands as an example of how cutting-edge technology, combined with community collaboration and the joint efforts of public and private law enforcement, can revolutionise crime prevention and law enforcement. The SafeCity Initiative employs the network effect to close gaps where criminals can hide, leading to an impressive number of daily apprehensions and monthly arrests.

Understanding the initiative

The Vumacam SafeCity Initiative is an ambitious and comprehensive project aimed at creating safer environments through a vast network of smart surveillance cameras, intelligent analytics, and real-time data analysis. The initiative’s primary focus is to deter criminal activity, assist law enforcement, and provide peace of mind to residents and businesses alike.

At the heart of the initiative lies the concept of the network effect. CCTV monitoring has long been a staple of security measures in South African suburbs, with installations typically carried out by resident associations, security companies, or businesses. However, the traditional approach to setting up CCTV cameras has led to disconnected and isolated communities, with each installation acting as an independent island that fails to communicate with others. The consequences of this fragmented system are evident – grainy and unusable footage due to unreliable non-fibre network connections, no failsafe for power outages, and a lack of real-time monitoring with alert notifications when cameras are malfunctioning.

Moreover, the limitations of these traditional CCTV solutions are evident when suspects or known perpetrators venture beyond the coverage of a specific suburb. They seemingly ‘ghost’ or disappear from the radar, escaping accountability unless they accidentally cross paths with another community equipped with surveillance capabilities and licence plate recognition software.

By integrating thousands of high-definition cameras throughout strategic locations, the initiative creates a pervasive surveillance network. This interconnected system allows law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders to access real-time video feeds, receive alerts on vehicles of interest (VOI) and analytics. The network effect amplifies the impact of these surveillance cameras, making it challenging for criminals to find safe havens to carry out illegal activities.

Closing criminal hideouts with data-driven intelligence

The SafeCity Initiative thrives on data-driven intelligence, all managed through Vumacam’s Proof Platform. Proof is a centralised security platform to manage single or multiple sites – enabling control room operators to monitor, manage, and record camera feeds, alerts and escalations from a single unified interface via independent third-party applications. Advanced algorithms analyse the vast amount of video data collected by the cameras, enabling the private security industry and law enforcement to identify patterns, trends, and potential threats more efficiently. This data-driven approach not only helps private and public law enforcement respond more rapidly to incidents, but also aids in proactively preventing crime.

By using the data and information gathered from Proof, law enforcement agencies can focus their efforts on high-risk areas and implement targeted strategies to combat criminal activities. This proactive approach is a game-changer, as it allows authorities to stay one step ahead of criminal elements.

The role of community collaboration

One of the critical aspects of the SafeCity Initiative’s success is its emphasis on community collaboration. The initiative actively involves residents, businesses, and local organisations in the fight against crime. Community members act as additional eyes and ears for law enforcement, reporting suspicious activities and incidents.

Moreover, the initiative fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among community members. When residents and businesses feel they are part of the solution, their trust in law enforcement increases, and they are more likely to take necessary precautions to safeguard their neighbourhoods.

The SafeCity Initiative is a prime example of how the public and private sectors can work hand-in-hand to achieve a common goal. Public law enforcement agencies, such as SAPS, work closely with the Eyes and Ears Initiative, which in turn collaborates with the private security industry to verify and assist with responding to alerts.

The Eyes & Ears Initiative is an official joint crime fighting initiative between the South African Police Service, Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and the private security industry, whereby the private security industry formally cooperates with the SAPS by relaying information directly to the Provincial Operational Command Centre (POCC) and in some instances, receiving such relevant information directly from it.

This synergistic partnership allows for the pooling of resources, expertise, and technologies. It maximises the efficiency of the surveillance network and improves overall safety in the city. Together, public and private law enforcement work cohesively to respond promptly to incidents, investigate crimes, and apprehend offenders.

Apprehensions and arrests

Thanks to the SafeCity Initiative, the City of Johannesburg, where the first network was built as proof of concept, has witnessed remarkable results in combating crime. The network’s effectiveness in thwarting criminal activities is evident with more than 55 000 unique VOI alerts received monthly, between 15 to 20 apprehensions daily, and on average 40 arrests made each month.

These positive results have led to the SafeCity Initiative expanding to the City of Ekurhuleni and the City of Tshwane with future rollouts being planned for the City of eThekwini.

The Vumacam SafeCity Initiative sets a remarkable example of how technology, community collaboration, and joint efforts of public and private law enforcement can create safer environments. By leveraging the network effect, this initiative closes the gaps where criminals can hide, making it increasingly challenging for them to operate unnoticed. The success of this initiative, reflected in the high number of apprehensions and arrests, serves as a beacon of hope for South African cities aspiring to combat crime effectively and foster safer communities for their residents.


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Five reasons why your board should push cybersecurity ‘boundaries’
Security Services & Risk Management IT infrastructure
From a technological perspective, micro-segmentation of your IT security environment can be viewed as a way to identify, isolate and curtail the reach of any threat – even once it is in your network.

Key timelines to ensure compliance
Security Services & Risk Management
Regulations to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that apply to major hazard installations require that certain actions be taken to manage health and safety risks – some with timelines for compliance that must be monitored.

Best practice tips for strengthening data privacy system
Security Services & Risk Management Cyber Security
International cybercriminals are increasingly targeting South African organizations, making data privacy more difficult to maintain. A standardization expert offers insight to help combat this threat.

Is AI the game-changer for streamlining anti-money laundering compliance?
Financial (Industry) Security Services & Risk Management
In the aftermath of South Africa's recent grey listing, companies are now confronted with the imperative to address eight identified strategic deficiencies, while simultaneously reducing their financial crime risk through anti-money laundering compliance processes.

Five ways to reduce your cyber insurance premiums
Security Services & Risk Management News
With the global costs of cybercrime expected to soar to $13 trillion within the next five years, cyber insurance is booming as organisations try to mitigate the risk of financial losses.

Client satisfaction boosted by 85% at Thungela Mine
Thorburn Security Solutions News Security Services & Risk Management Mining (Industry)
Thorburn Security, a division of Tsebo Solutions Group, has announced its recent collaboration with Kwa-Zulu Natal security company, Ithuba Protection Services, as part of its Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives across Africa.

Migrating to the cloud? Beware the many hurdles
IT infrastructure Security Services & Risk Management
While there are undoubtedly many benefits, there are also numerous hurdles to cloud adoption. Some of the biggest challenges revolve around managing cloud spend, understanding the cost components of cloud infrastructure, and how those costs can scale.

Key strategies for businesses in the face of cyber threats
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Businesses face severe financial and reputational consequences due to data breaches and daily website hacks, and not all organisations are adequately prepared to combat these escalating threats.

Planning for the worst is key to success
Technews Publishing Security Services & Risk Management
Planning for the worst is key to success when disaster strikes. Amidst frequent load shedding and often unpredictable stages of power outages, many businesses are concerned about the possibility of a total blackout.

Protecting South African systems through XDR cybersecurity
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Carlo Bolzonello, Country Lead for Trellix South Africa, discusses how the country can protect its valuable digital assets through the artificial intelligence-enabled Extended Detection and Response (XDR) cybersecurity approach.