Mowbray crime prevention gets a boost

Rondebosch station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Barbara Breedt and Mowbray station commander Lieutenant-Colonel May-Louise Dyer

A newly launched surveillance centre in Mowbray will not only help to reduce crime but also help to prevent it, say police.

The Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID) officially launched the surveillance centre and licence-plate recognition (LPR) security camera project on Thursday September 20.

The GSCID surveillance centre will provide 24-hour security-monitoring capabilities and services to the greater southern suburbs.

The project, which took 14 months to get off the ground, is the first phase in a five-year security initiative by the GSCID, whose general manager, Nina Farrell, said it would improve security in the area.

“This service will tie in with the already existing security infrastructure and operations to facilitate a holistic approach and will provide oversight of all security matters, especially where crime hot spots are of concern.”

Ms Farrell said it was a stand-alone facility but would be linked to other security services in the improvement district.

“It will thus provide additional ‘back up’ and assistance to the security staff on the ground and will aid in preventative security. When any potential crime is spotted/monitored, the surveillance controller will relay all information to the ground staff and a combined approach to crime prevention will take place,” she said.

Ms Farrell said they could track and trace criminal elements using LPR software.

“The envisioned future of this project is to eventually collate a number of cameras in a planned network design so as to provide an overall coverage of an ‘eye in the sky’,” she said.

The latest crime statistics for Mowbray show a 14% increase in armed robberies, from 103 to 118, cases and a 28% increase in common robberies, from 60 to 77 cases. Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (GBH) jumped from four to 12 cases. Sexual offences doubled, from six to 12 cases, while sexual assaults went from none to five (“Violent crime increases,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, September 13).

Mowbray station commander Lieutenant-Colonel May-Louise Dyers said the LPR cameras would help track vehicles. She said business robberies in the main road and car-jackings at complexes were a problem in the area.

“The cameras have proven to be a successful crime-fighting tool and also help in terms of partnerships with the community and police,” she said.

Rondebosch station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Barbara Breedt welcomed the opening of the centre, saying they had battled with theft of and theft out of vehicles.

“We have a big parking problem in the area with all the students and apartments. We still find that people are leaving their valuables in their vehicles,” she said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Breedt said LPR cameras had led to many arrests.

“We are moving forward in our fight against crime with the use of technology. The cameras will help us to be more pro-active than re-active,” she said.

Ms Farrell said only one surveillance officer would be posted, in shifts, at the 24-hour facility in the project’s early stages, but a second surveillance desk had been installed to accommodate another one at a later stage.

“The entire GSCID precinct will eventually be under coverage of surveillance equipment. For the interim, hot spots and high traffic areas have been identified and will be the first priority to cover,” she said.