Cape Town to depoly camera-fitted aircraft in war against crime

12th April 2024

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The City of Cape Towns’ (CoCT’s) Safety and Security Directorate is enhancing its crime prevention capabilities with the inclusion of new aerial surveillance technology.

The information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) technology will take information gathering “to the next level” in the fight against poaching, land invasions, vegetation fires and illegal street racing, as well as in responding to gang incidents and pursuing stolen or hijacked vehicles, says the city.

ISR, commonly referred to as Eye in the Sky, is a two-seater fixed-wing Cessna fitted with cameras that the Safety and Security Directorate will use to provide law enforcement officers with situational awareness and aerial imagery when they conduct operations.

The Cessna 337 is provided with trained, experienced pilots through a new tender contract.

The aircraft, which can fly higher than a drone, is also fitted with infrared cameras, allowing it to register body heat in cold water, the heat resonating from a recently fired firearm, and even the wheels of a speeding vehicle.

“The ISR technology is a versatile tool, as the fixed-wing aircraft can cover larger geographical areas, stay in the air for long periods doing low-level reconnaissance flights, while it is also less weather dependent than drones,” says CoCT Safety and Security MMC JP Smith.

“The aircraft will also assist with improving rapid response time by officers during planned operations as it can relay precise information.

“The technology’s use will not be limited to the enforcement environment, but can also help in other instances, like the monitoring of high-voltage lines, vandalism of vital infrastructure, coastal impact and biodiversity- related issues,” adds Smith.

The use of a fixed-wing aircraft was tested previously by the city during crime prevention operations and in the effort to assist the city’s fire services during the 2021 Table Mountain fire.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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