Cameras watch day and night

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Joburg criminals better watch out! The city's CCTV cameras are eyeing your every move.

The city has installed 216 cameras in the central business district to detect criminal activities.

Johannesburg metro department's police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said yesterday 23 suspects had been arrested since December 1 for crimes such as pickpocketing, cellphone and handbag snatching, and smash and grabs.

"With the help of these cameras, the arrests took place in Eloff, Plein, Simmonds, Anderson, Noord, Bok and Main streets," Minnaar said.

He said that coordinating the efforts of 308 uniformed police, 30 plain-clothed officers and 150 volunteers patrolling on foot, had also helped monitor the criminals roaming the city centre.

The technologically advanced cameras are manned by 70 operators day and night.

Metro police operatives in the camera room alert officers on the streets to crimes happening near them.

Patrolling officers can respond to any crime within minutes.

The camera operators are trained to interpret body language and to recognise concealed weapons.

The system, claimed to be one of the world's most advanced CCTV networks, uses artificial intelligence to predict trends from past events.

The cameras are so sophisticated that one installed at the Carlton Centre can zoom into Ellis Park kilometres away.

Minnaar said petty criminals who prey on unsuspecting shoppers are no match for the hi-tech system.