Crime is at a critical stage in South Africa, they range from petty theft, muggings, ATM scams to armed residential home invasions and murder. One would think that these types of premeditated crimes you’ll only see in a Hollywood blockbuster, but in South Africa, the citizens play the role of the victim in a never ending scene. In this crime ridden movie the heroes are those who stand up to crime, but the villains keep prevailing.
The watchdog AKA the CCTV system
Johannesburg, the city with the highest crime rate in South Africa, according to Crimestatssa.com, has a watchdog. We can call it the Batman of Johannesburg; up high in a non-descriptive building, the people inside work aimlessly to help track and discover crime and then convey it to the task team on the ground. The city implemented CCTV cameras all over the CBD, by setting up their security control room in conjunction with Omega and metro police.
A job well done
Metro police Chief Superintendent, Wayne Minnaar says, “I can say that there hasn’t been a bank robbery, neither an ATM or cash heist, in the CBD for the past five years.”
Clearly the CCTV system has brought about change, not a big enough change that stops crime completely, but change nonetheless.
“Serious crime is definitely reduced. There is still opportunistic minor crime which happens. Bag snatching, pick pocketing, that type of stuff,” says Minnaar.
But who is this Omega?
Omega is the company chosen to install and maintain the CCTV cameras in the CBD of Johannesburg. They have their own staff who monitor the cameras on a 24/7 basis. Initially the cameras were only placed in strategic areas, but because of its positive impact, there are now over 400 cameras in the CBD and neighbouring areas.
The villains fight back
Criminals are aware that they are being monitored and have thus gone as far as to shoot down the cameras. In one particular case, several years ago criminals used an angle grinder to cut down the pole which had a camera installed on it.
Minnaar says, “It was in the middle of the night at one of the Crown Mines hotspots and they used a blanket to cover the camera and they used an angle grinder to cut down the pole.”
The city has thus decided to install the cameras on concrete polls. A criminal will always try to work their way around the system and therefor procedures are now in place to ensure that the police are immediately deployed to cameras that stop working.
The war between crime and the innocent continues. No one really knows when it will end and, but as long as there is hope in the hearts of South Africans, victory will be sweet in the end. At least now with the help of the CCTV cameras, those in the wrong can be brought to book.