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Metro police chief Wayne le Roux has warned Cape Town drivers to be vigilant, especially near pedestrian crossings, to avoid becoming victims of crime.
Le Roux said this in response to reports that drivers using major roads, particularly the N2 and R300, were being targeted and in extreme cases forced to stop their cars by robbers who then attacked them
“We appeal to motorists to be cautious, to be aware,” Le Roux said.
This was particularly important at pedestrian crossings, he added.
Le Roux said Metro police officers were patrolling the highways and there were constant operations forming part of the metro police’s “safe city concept”.
CCTV cameras had been placed along the freeways and a “highway response team” acted on any incidents picked up from the footage.
“We try to respond as quickly as possible.”
Safety and security mayco member JP Smith said Freeway Management System CCTV cameras, a joint city, provincial and South African National Roads Agency Limited project, were placed along roads to monitor what was happening.
He said within the bounds of Cape Town, 49 FMS cameras had been placed along the N2 and 32 along the R300.
“All the FMS cameras work. They are normally at least 99 percent operational and enjoy very high levels of pro-active maintenance,” Smith said.
The cameras monitored general activities on the freeways.
“Some cameras at the pedestrian crossings on the R300 are, however, also used to pick up criminal activity,” Smith said.
If suspicious activity was picked up by any camera, this information was quickly passed on to law enforcement, he said.
Late on Monday, a Cape Times team accompanied metro police director Sean Peterse and senior superintendent Charl Kitching along the N2 and R300.
At a point along the N2, near the Mew Way turnoff, the metro police car was stopped and Kitching pointed out an FMS camera in the distance.
Kitching then called a camera controller.
The controller confirmed he could see the metro police car as well as three occupants - Kitching, the reporter and photographer - standing at the side of the road.
A metro police special operations car and a response car arrived within a minute of Kitching asking the controller to send a response vehicle to the location.
Kitching said the FMS cameras were often instrumental in preventing crimes.
“The camera-room controllers pick up suspicious people on the roadside and call the information in.
“This helps in reducing smash-and-grabs,” he said.
Kitching said response times to an incident varied as it depended on various factors, including the location of the nearest law enforcement vehicle, as well as what other incidents were possibly being responded to in the area at the same time. - Cape Argus