Big Brother is watching you

From Sandton to Soweto, the City of Johannesburg is in the process of upgrading its CCTV surveillance citywide.

The City’s Metropolitan Trading Company on behalf of Metro police is embarking on this project. This week the rollout started with the first 50 high-tech cameras.

Field service technician for the company Sipho Phakathi, who is leading the Intelligence Video Analytic Platform project, said the cameras were fitted with the latest technology.

“These highly advanced surveillance cameras will be installed in hotspot areas which had been identified by [Metro police],” he said. “They would be placed in areas which are known to be high crime hotspots, where there is a lot of traffic and concentration of people.”

According to Phakathi, the new cameras are part of the first phase pilot project and will complement the current 450 cameras across the city.

Phakathi explained that the cameras were fitted with fibre networks and were able to provide a clear face detection of a suspect. They can pick up suspicious patterns of movements and immediately send a warning to the Metro police intelligence operation centre.

“You can practically programme the camera to have a facial recognition capability, whereby if the same person keeps on passing or moving in the same area multiple times, the camera can be able to quickly pick up the pattern an alert the control room. This also helps to detect a suspicious car that drives around the neighbourhood through number plate detection.”

Phakathi warned that those involved in criminal activities, including those driving at a high speed on the city’s highways and driving in dedicated Rea Vaya lanes would be nabbed quicker than ever before.

“These specialised cameras can rotate at a 360-degree angle and can cover a distance of up to a kilometre.”

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