LPR Cameras are the latest buzzword in the media at the moment – but how do they work, and how can they help us?
We’re all familiar with regular surveillance cameras – they are pretty good for getting video footage after the fact when a crime was committed, but they’re less good when it comes to crime prevention because they need to be actively monitored by a frequently rotated team with broad knowledge and good memories. This has its limitations, both in terms of funding and just in terms of human error – it’s hard work sustaining concentration for long hours when not much is happening.
Enter the LPR Camera! LPR stands for License Plate Recognition. These cameras are linked to software which is able to “read” and recognize number plates without human intervention. This is incredibly useful when one considers that most criminals, like us, use cars to get to and from their “place of work”. The cameras are linked up to the national LPR database, LPRCLOUDSA, which contains information regarding all suspicious vehicles. Each time a vehicle passes the LPR camera, it reads the number plate, then checks the database to see if there is a match. The moment there is, an alert is triggered and local resources are dispatched to investigate (Neighbourhood Watches, SAPS, Law Enforcement, Local Armed Response Companies, etc.).
The power of this technology can go a long way toward crime prevention – consider these scenarios:
- A crime has been committed in another area, the getaway car enters our area, and an alert is immediately triggered – local security resources are dispatched and they’re able to detain the criminals before they get away completely
- A stolen car has just entered our neighbourhood: the intention is to rob a house in Muizenberg – but as soon as the car enters the area (and before the crime can be committed) local security resources are alerted and dispatched, and the crime is prevented
Many neighbourhood watches in surrounding areas of Cape Town have already implemented this technology and are seeing big wins. What’s great about this technology is that it also enables greater collaboration between the different areas – there are in fact many instances where a criminal has been tracked from suburb to suburb, until finally an arrest was made.
Research shows on average the same criminals commit 93 crimes on a national scale before being caught. In the City Bowl, the same “gang” would commit approximately six crimes before getting caught or moving on. With LPR cameras they are being caught after only two or three incidents, and court convictions are very successful. In fact, the mere presence of LPR cameras is acting as a deterrent and reducing criminal incidents.
The current MCSI project will see the purchase of 3 cameras initially, with the final complement envisaged at 6 which will cover all vehicular entry and exit points to the suburb. It will be linked in to the Constantia Valley Watch Association.
The project will partially be funded by DoCS (Department of Community Safety) and partially by local residents – as has been the case in all other areas of Cape Town where the technology is implemented.
We are therefore asking all MCSI members to:
- Actively support our Fund-raising initiatives (the first is a music event “Raising the Berg” on 25 August)
- Make a donation to the MCSI Camera Fund to boost us on our way to a safer Muizenberg
This is proven technology, linked into a proven network – it is well worth the investment!
If you have any queries feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org