New ‘eyes in the skies’ will red-flag dodgy car licence plates for cops

Cameras capable of spotting stolen cars have gone up in some East London suburbs – with plans to have the system extended to other parts of the Eastern Cape.

CRIME BUSTERS: Licence recognition cameras have gone up in Beacon Bay and Nahoon Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA

The licence plate recognition (LPR) camera system is already up and running in the suburb of Lorraine in Port Elizabeth – and four cameras in Beacon Bay and Nahoon in East London will go live tomorrow.

The LPR cameras have been put up in East London by private security firm Fidelity ADT, at a combined cost of R250000.

The cameras – which, it is hoped, will assist the police in speedily recovering stolen vehicles – will function 24 hours a day.

Once a stolen car is picked up by a camera, the information will immediately be sent to the nearest police station.

Fidelity ADT East London branch manager Johan du Preez said the system had already proved to be a success in Lorraine because within two months three stolen vehicles were recovered and a number of suspects arrested.

“We are hoping that success story will come this side as well, which is why we have put these cameras up here [in East London].

“The two cameras in Beacon Bay are just the starting point.

“We will, with the endorsement of the public, move to other towns in the Eastern Cape, like Mthatha.

“We are very excited to be working with the police on this,” he said.

Du Preez said the cameras would not only flag stolen vehicles but also suspicious vehicles, such as those without number plates or number plates that had been tampered with.

“We want to emphasise to the public that this camera system is linked with the police. A person whose vehicle is stolen must go to the police station and report the car stolen.

“The police will supply us with the registration number, which will be logged into our system.

“Once the car is spotted by our cameras, it will be picked up in our CIC [community information centres] in Port Elizabeth and East London.

“We then report to the nearest police and within seconds a car can be recovered,” he said.

Police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku said: “The SAPS welcome initiatives by private security companies aimed at eradicating crime in our communities, including this initiative.

“We are optimistic it will help us in the fight against crime.”

The Beacon Bay Crime Board and the Community Patrol Association (CPA) expressed excitement in statements on their Facebook pages about the system.

Anti-crime activist Juan de Cock said: “This could be the tipping point in our combined fight against crime and could prove to be the proverbial silver bullet in certain instances.

“The CPA immediately realised the real capabilities this system could offer versus normal CCTV in Beacon Bay. Residents and the Beacon Bay SAPS stand to gain a lot here, as do other role players.” —

malibongwed@dispatch.co.za

By Malibongwe Dayimani – DispatchLIVE

Source: TMG Digital

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