The fight against crime in the Johannesburg central business district received a major boost when, on April 12th, 12 strategically-placed closed circuit surveillance cameras were switched on.
The cameras, installed to cover areas like Park Station between Noord, Jeppe, Klein and Von Brandis Streets, aim to reduce the crime rate substantially. The new system will also be linked to existing cameras monitoring sections of the M2 east and west routes.
Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa said the launch of the project would result in the creation of a more secure environment for business, citizens and tourists. "We aim to bring life and trading back to Johannesburg," Shilowa said.
He believes the multimillion-rand project marks the beginning of the regeneration of the city. "This project will further equip (the) police and other law enforcement agencies with a weapon that will enable them to respond rapidly to crime scenes - not only to arrest criminals but also to prevent crime," he said.
Shilowa said the process would also empower the justice system with a mechanism that "will provide clear evidence of those who break the law, thereby increasing the speed with which judgements are passed and sentences declared".
The cameras have advanced pan/tilt/zoom capabilities and are linked to a control centre manned 24 hours a day by specially trained staff. The control centre operators will link up with police on vehicle and foot patrols.
"You will also be happy to know that further discussions are under way to extend this technology so that it could be utilised for other purposes such as traffic control and coordinating quicker responses to other emergencies," said Shilowa.
Business Against Crime Chairman Doug Smollan said he was positive that the success achieved in the fight against crime in Cape Town, using similar means, would also be recorded in the Johannesburg city centre.
The organisers of the initiative, which was jointly undertaken by the Provincial Government, the SA Police Service, Business Against Crime, the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council, the Johannesburg Surveillance Unit and the Central Johannesburg Partnership, also plan to roll out the system rapidly throughout the city centre and into neighbouring business hubs.
Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council Mayor Isaac Mogase warned criminals that they were going to be hit hard. He called on the citizens of the province to support crime-busting initiatives. "We are beginning to address crime seriously and the criminals will be kept where they belong," he said. "Your days are numbered. We are going to reclaim the streets of our city," Mogase said.
Source: Business Day
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