The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Cape Town, Crime

City of Cape Town Deploys Advanced “Eye in the Sky” to Combat Crime

Michael Hawthorne

New surveillance aircraft to take the fight against poaching, land invasions, fires, street racing, and gang incidents to the next level. (And if lucky maybe even UFOs!)

The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate is bolstering its crime prevention capabilities with the introduction of advanced aerial surveillance technology. Dubbed the “Eye in the Sky”, this information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform will elevate information gathering in the fight against poaching, land invasions, vegetation fires, illegal street racing, gang violence, and pursuits of stolen or hijacked vehicles.

ISR is a two-seater fixed-wing aircraft equipped with cutting-edge cameras that will provide Safety and Security officers with real-time situational awareness and aerial imagery during enforcement operations. Unlike drones, the aircraft can fly higher, cover larger areas, operate for longer periods, and is less impacted by weather conditions. It also features infrared cameras that can detect body heat in cold water, heat from a recently fired gun, or even the wheels of a speeding vehicle.

“The ISR technology is a versatile tool,” said Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security. “It will enhance our rapid response capabilities by providing officers with precise information during planned operations. Its capabilities even extend beyond enforcement, potentially aiding in tasks like monitoring high voltage lines, preventing vandalism of vital infrastructure, and addressing coastal impact and biodiversity issues.”

After a rigorous tender process, the City has selected the Cessna 337 to fulfil this surveillance role. The fixed-wing design was previously tested successfully in crime prevention operations and supported fire services during the devastating 2021 Table Mountain fire.

Before its deployment, command centre staff and operational personnel will undergo training to ensure optimal use of the aircraft’s capabilities. This “Eye in the Sky” joins the City of Cape Town’s ever-growing technological arsenal, which already includes drones, DashCams, BodyCams, ShotSpotter, CCTV, and ANPR applications.


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