Businesses returning to safer Joburg CBD - JMPD

Adam Wakefield, News24

Johannesburg - The installation and expansion of CCTV cameras in the Johannesburg CBD over the last decade is partly credited for seeing businesses return to the area, a boon for the city government.

"A lot of business has returned to the city over the past 12 years. Food outlets, Nandos, McDonalds, all of those," Johannesburg Metro Police Department Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar told News24 at the CCTV control centre on Rissik Street on Thursday.

"That was part of the plan of having the cameras. To have people feel safe and for business to return to the city. There has been expansion where there's been a partnership with business, particularly to the western side of the city."

Businesses such as Edcon and Gold Reef City have teamed up with metro police and the city to extend the camera network, with the system also spreading to the eastern side of the CBD.

"The more partnerships we can form, the better. We will be able to grow the system as wide as possible," Minnaar says.

Hot spots, transport hubs

The system initially focused on certain hot spots in the CBD, but has now expanded to 402 cameras, 318 of which have the ability to rotate, zoom in, and zoom out. The remainder are fixed cameras focusing on transport hubs where petty crime occurs.

"The camera footage is actually used as evidence in court which has been to our advantage greatly," Minnaar says.

"Where a crime has happened, then the investigating officers from the South African police use the very footage as evidence and are able to convict criminals with the footage."

The camera network extensively covers the entire CBD and its outskirts, where it is used for law enforcement, by-law enforcement, road management, and emergency service management.

While used for these four purposes, any footage picked up and uploaded into the control room's server room is not allowed to be used to "disadvantage any member of the public from a privacy point of view".

Johannesburg modelled its CCTV system on the British city of Birmingham, where according to Minnaar it proved to be very successful.

News24 Source