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Advanced technology enhances safety and collaboration in the VRCID


Bellville, Parow – The Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) has significantly improved safety and security within its jurisdiction by strategically implementing advanced technologies.

According to Derek Bock, Chief Operating Officer of the VRCID, body cameras, face recognition systems, and in-vehicle cameras have become essential tools in the VRCID’s mission “to maintain and enhance security, public spaces, and social development”. 

Over the last ten years, body-worn cameras have seen a significant surge in popularity within the private security policing of public space.

“The cameras have progressed from bulky units to small, high-definition cameras that can be worn on uniforms, sending live pictures to the control room. The main advantages of these devices are that they improve internal accountability, enhance transparency, and facilitate investigations of citizen complaints,” says Bock. 

“In the VRCID patrol vehicles, in-vehicle cameras cover extensive ground and capture thousands of number plates daily. The License Plate Recognition (LPR) system detects suspect vehicles, effectively alerting the control room. The facial recognition technology has proven priceless in identifying suspects involved in criminal activities, facilitating swift and efficient apprehension.

“The initial motivation for adopting these advanced technologies was to stay ahead of evolving criminal activity. Through implementation, the VRCID experienced a notable increase in arrest statistics and a reduction in illegal activities within its areas of operation.”

Success stories serve as proof of the technologies’ effectiveness, says Kassiem Daniels, Securitas contract manager at the VRCID.

“We have several success stories to tell, such as a dashcam that captured a staged hijacking. The video evidence showed that the alleged victim was involved in illegal activity, resulting in his arrest and subsequent charges. Additionally, an in-vehicle camera recorded an armed robbery, which subsequently led to the apprehension of two suspects and the recovery of a firearm with the assistance of the SAPS.”

The VRCID’s adoption of advanced technology has impressed law enforcement agencies, with some expressing interest in implementing similar measures. The technology not only safeguards officers but also diminishes unwarranted complaints due to the awareness of operation recordings. The robust ties between the VRCID and different law enforcement agencies have enabled cooperation in combating crime.

Body cameras have become compact, high-resolution devices with clear audio capabilities. Equipped with live streaming features, they allow the control room to provide real-time guidance to officers in the field, explains Daniels. All footage and recordings are date-stamped, ensuring the preservation of critical evidence.

In addressing privacy concerns, the VRCID prioritizes transparency when recording in public spaces. Staff notifies individuals that a recording is being made, which leads to fewer complaints and reduces confrontations.

“The use of in-vehicle cameras, specifically the LPR technology, has significantly improved the situational awareness of VRCID officers. With the capability of reading thousands of number plates daily, patrol officers are motivated to search for wanted vehicles in hiding.”

The utilization of advanced technologies by the VRCID has strengthened its relationship with the Bellville and Parow communities. “The public chooses to contact the VRCID for prompt responses, recognizing its swift and effective service. The incorporation of onboard LPR, body cameras, and vehicle tracking has not only improved service delivery but also fostered a sense of trust.”

According to Daniels, VRCID-officers receive ongoing training and support to guarantee ethical and effective utilization of technology. “They participate in induction programs and monthly refresher training sessions, and we thoroughly analyze specific incidents to ensure proper conduct.”

“The VRCID’s mission is to safeguard the safety and security of everyone within our jurisdiction. By utilizing advanced technology, the VRCID has not only achieved its mission, but has also become a model for other Corridor Improvement Districts,” says Bock.

The VRCID has successfully formed partnerships with businesses, local authorities, and law enforcement agencies to improve surveillance capabilities and implement collaborative safety and security strategies. A viewing station for the SAPS and law enforcement within the VRCID’s control room has enhanced coordination.

Yet, there are no plans to relax or rest on their laurels. 

“In the future, the VRCID aims to access more external cameras in public places and expand its LPR network. The organization is also investigating the use of facial recognition cameras funded by businesses to identify wanted individuals. Drones may also be an exciting addition to our crime-fighting arsenal,” says Daniels. 

“The VRCID’s implementation of body cameras, face recognition, and in-car cameras has not only bolstered safety and security but also solidified connections with the community, law enforcement, and businesses. The progressive measures taken by the VRCID ensures its position as a leader in effectively maintaining the safety and welfare of the Bellville and Parow regions,” Bock concludes.

The article was published in the Tygerburger on Wednesday, 29 November 2023.

Netwerk24 subscribers can find the full article here.

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