South Africa turns to crime-fighting drones

 ·22 Feb 2024

The police services in the Western Cape and Gauteng have received drones to help tackle crime.

Over the last few years, several private and public institutions, such as the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the City of Cape Town, have started using drones in the battle against crime.

South Africa is infamous for its high crime rate, with the SAPS recording a total of 7,710 murders between October and December 2023, averaging to 84 people murdered every day.

Western Cape Premier and the Provincial Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, have thus given a done each to the Cape Winelands (CWDM), Overberg (ODM), Garden Route (GRDM) and West Coast (WCDM) District Municipalities.

“With technology such as drones, our municipalities, in partnership with our government, are sharpening up our collective crime-fighting and disaster capabilities. Technology and innovation must be embraced so that we work faster and smarter for our residents,” said Winde.

SANParks and the Central Karoo district municipality are also expected to get drones in the “not-so-distant future.”

The drones, valued at R18,000 each, include various specifications and functions, including handheld control, onboard camera, visual screen, recording ability and more.

The drones were donated to the Western Cape Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China to boost crime-fighting efforts in the province.

“We extend our gratitude to our international partner, as it shows their interest in seeking to ensure that greater safety is achieved across the entire province,” Allen said.

“We have already established our K-9 and Rural Safety Units on the West Coast, Overberg and Garden Route regions, and these drones will also complement and enhance their operations.”

Posting to Twitter/X, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi also highlighted the official launch of the SAPS’s drone operations around Johannesburg.

Souce: Panyaza Lesufi on Twitter/X
Souce: Panyaza Lesufi on Twitter/X

The government is, however, trailing the private sector, with drones being used in anti-crime initiatives by private security companies for several years already, especially in up-market complexes and estates where it can be difficult to track criminals on the ground.

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