LPR project needs support

Bothasig and Edgemead residents and businesses have been asked to support a R500 000 project to install licence-plate-recognition (LPR) cameras at key areas in the two suburbs.

The City of Cape Town and Garden Cities are already helping to pay for some of the 13 cameras – each costing about R40 000.

The Bothasig Residents’ Association (BRA) backs the project and has asked residents to contribute to it.

Clive Owen, the association’s chairman, said the cameras would help to monitor and control anti-social activity in Bothasig and the surrounding neighbourhoods of Edgemead and Richwood.

“It is vitally important for communities to work together to combat crime and grime, and thus assist the City of Cape Town and SAPS.”

So far, six cameras have been installed by Rubics Solutions. Natasha Groenewald, one of the firm’s directors, said the cameras would alert neighbourhood watch members when they spotted a suspicious licence plate or suspicious behaviour. The watch members could then contact the police.

Emile Coetzee, the spokesman for the LPR project, said it was important for communities to work together to fight crime. “Residents can already assist SAPS by joining their local neighbourhood watch and working with them via the community policing forum to be eyes and ears,” said Mr Coetzee.

“The foundation of communication and trust between the community and local police must be in place before you can successfully leverage off LPR technology.”

He said the Bothasig and Edgemead watches worked well with Bothasig SAPS.

Ward councillor Helen Carstens has allocated R100 000 from the ward budget to the LPR project.

“This is indeed a wonderful community effort as businesses and residents have pooled together to assist,” Ms Carstens said.

“My ward is flanked by an area that does already have LPR cameras and another that will soon also be getting. This is also evidence of suburbs working together for a common goal, sharing resources and information, and liaising with SAPS and all law enforcement agencies.”

Suburb developer Garden Cities, which has its headquarters in Edgemead, has vowed to match every R1 donated up to
R125 000.

“We challenge other corporates in and around Edgemead and Bothasig to weigh in with contributions so that the project can go ahead as soon as possible,” said Garden Cities Group CEO, John Matthews.

The City’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said the neighbourhood watches would be responsible for reporting incidents picked up by the cameras to SAPS or City law enforcement. SAPS would also be able to use the system for investigations.

Bothasig police said that while there had been no spike in crime in the area, they supported the LPR project.

“It is being managed very professionally by the local CPF and has been a project they have tackled with great aplomb,” said Bothasig police spokesman, Warrant Officer Jacques Mostert.

The Edgemead Ratepayers’ Association has also backed the project.

“We hope to soon cover all major entrances/exits in Edgemead and the neighbouring areas like Bothasig. The reality is that the LPR project is reliant on continued financial support from the community and local business,” said chairman Marius Reitz.