Violence on public transport

October 2006 Surveillance

Jeremy Cronin, chairperson of ­Parliament’s transport portfolio ­committee, recently criticised the government’s transport policies, saying that South Africa has a substantial crisis around transport mobility, safety and ­accessibility.

Claims that South Africa could lose the opportunity to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, owing to issues such as violent crime, HIV/AIDS, insufficient accommodation and a Third World public transport system. Reports of violence on public transportation could raise serious questions about the safety of tourists attending the event, adding that without proper measures, public transportation was vulnerable to security issues involving passengers and operators, vandalism and even suspicious liability claims.

Public transport management has never been easy and the current situation is exacerbated by today's gang violence, says Francois Smuts, product manager of Elvey Security Technologies closed circuit television (CCTV) division. "A mobile video surveillance system can be the best asset for security on public transport. In addition, it can be used by management of public transportation companies to assess service delivery level and quality control," he says.

Elvey's Mobile Surveillance System is designed for buses, trains, delivery trucks, armoured cars and other vehicles, it features an onboard recorder that works up to 16 cameras positioned throughout the vehicle, inside or outside, and accordingly able to cover all angles. "When a driver starts a vehicle equipped with a mobile surveillance system, the digital recorder automatically begins storing images from all cameras," he explains. "With GPS (global positioning system) location capabilities, the mobile surveillance system can give realtime information regarding the vehicle's speed, braking and safety signal activation. The cameras create a feeling of security among commuters who know that the transport company has taken steps to ensure their safety. The cameras also discourage intimidating behaviour and reduce graffiti and vandalism."

Retrieving data from a transit bus or train is a simple process, done through the use of an advanced wireless network solution, says Smuts. The network can be configured to automatically download video and system status information from all vehicles daily, and report the data's availability to an administrator.

"The future undoubtedly lies in digital video surveillance systems," says Gideon Wheeler, Elvey's CCTV technical manager. "Besides fighting terrorism, these systems when installed in public places, buses, or retail centres, can deter crime, provide the police with leads, help citizens feel safer and improve the economy by reducing the amount of crime-stricken areas. It is clear that with digital technology and streaming video we have moved into an era in which we are able to conduct comprehensive video surveillance which can be stored as evidence for an indefinite period of time."

For more information contact Kenny Chiu, Elvey Security Technologies, +27 (0) 401 6700,


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