National News

Eyes in the sky - no place for criminals to hide in Gauteng

In December 2020 Fidelity announced it had expanded its partnership with Vumacam to roll out a further 1 400 surveillance cameras across Gauteng.

 

“The Vumacam infrastructure with its world class technology, allows us to better integrate analytics on flagged crime incidents across all Vumacam cameras nationally. The results in Gauteng have been extremely positive. In the last three months alone we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of positive recoveries,” says Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group.

 

Bartmann says in March four hijacked vehicles were recovered and in three of the incidents the suspects were handed over to SAPS for further investigation. In April a further five vehicles were recovered.  “A number of the vehicles are actually cloned vehicles that are being used in robberies. On the 13 April for example a Volkswagen Golf 7 GTi with a cloned license plate was picked up in Rosebank having being cited for truck hijacking and fraud. Not only was the vehicle recovered but three suspects were taken in for questioning and two handguns seized. Later in the month we recovered another vehicle, this time a silver Ford Focus which had been involved in attempted theft of motor vehicle at Lifestyle Crossing, Little Falls. We immediately loaded the vehicle on the system. Plates were tested and the test came out as no ownership. Shortly after the vehicle was loaded, we started receiving hits on the cameras. The hits were sent through and our Fidelity and SAPS teams started chasing the vehicle which was later pulled over and the driver arrested. Upon investigation, our teams tested the VIN number on the vehicle and found it matched an open case from Hillbrow SAPS. Signal jammers were also found in the vehicle.”

 

There is no doubt that an integrated approach and sharing of real time information is paying dividends in matching these stolen and cloned cars. The ability of the system to match a car and number plate and track its history is extremely effective. In Dainfern/Fourways for example there had been numerous incidents and a list of vehicles was sent through and loaded on the system. It did not take long for one of the cameras to pick up a BMW and find that the vehicle history suggested that this vehicle was seen at every incident. “Movements of this vehicle were carefully monitored in the evening and then on the 5th of May the vehicle was spotted again, this time moving from the Observatory area into the Fourways area.  Our teams were immediately alerted including our Specialised Intervention Unit, the SecureDrive Ops and Drone teams, JMPD Undercover, Douglasdale SAPS and the estate teams. The vehicle was successfully recovered with one suspect and approximately ten stolen laptops and cameras were found in his possession.”

 

During May a further 10 vehicles were recovered. “It is clear the cameras are a huge support to the broader crime prevention efforts and it is encouraging to see how effective this solution is coordinating law enforcement and private security company solutions to effectively deal with criminal activity,” concludes Bartmann.

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