If you live in Muizenberg or are just passing through – smile – because you are on camera.
Less than a month after the Ocean View CCTV room opened (“Camera control room launched in Ocean View”, Echo, January 23”), the one in Muizenberg was launched by the City’s Metro Police Strategic Surveillance Unit (SSU), on Friday February 7.
The high-resolution cameras were paid for with ward allocation funding, at a cost of just over R300 000.
There are four cameras, two are “pan to tilt zoom devices”, which at full zoom allow facial recognition, and two are licence-plate recognition cameras.
Footage will be stored for 60 days at first, but there is space to keep it for longer.
The camera feeds will be monitored from the control room at the Muizenberg Traffic Centre by neighbourhood watch members and auxiliary law enforcement officers.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the rollout of fibre meant the control room could soon be linked to SSU’s central operations centre.
“For the moment, however, the local control room and initial camera rollout is a start for the Muizenberg area, and a potentially valuable tool in improving public safety, but also assisting with traffic management and other matters.”
He thanked ward councillor Aimee Kuhl for making ward-allocation funds available for the project.
The control rooms represented the close working relationship among traffic services, law enforcement, the neighbourhood watches and the auxiliary law officers, he
Mr Smith thanked Eckardt Winks for his contribution to the project, saying he had one foot in City departments and one foot in the neighbourhood watch. He also thanked Muizenberg’s Wayne Turner, an auxiliary law officer, who had spent 150 hours patrolling last month.
Mr Winks said he had helped with system design and project management.
“The intention will be for our registered patrollers to utilise the facility by being the invisible eye in the sky, while co-ordinating patrollers, responders and all of emergency services.”
The infrastructure now existed for camera feeds from all surrounding communities to stream to a central hub, he said.
Mr Smith said 85% of police stations were under-resourced and 4 500 police members had left the force in the past four years, but mayor Dan Plato and Premier Alan Winde had responded with the promise of
3 000 new law enforcement officers. The first
500 had started duty last week and another 500 would be ready by June.
He said Die Burger Strandhuis in Muizenberg would be used as a training facility for the officers and would host occasional youth camps.
Ms Kuhl said the cameras would make Muizenberg safer for residents and visitors alike.
“I believe it is a worthwhile undertaking and based on the impact of the initial installations, we might look to expand the rollout in future. However, we are also looking at potentially linking non-City cameras to the control room and increasing the CCTV footprint in that manner.”