Cape Town deploys helicopters to combat crime and manage traffic along coastal areas

2019-12-30 11:55 - Marisa Crous
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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a helicopter! 

This summer, when you're lounging under your beach umbrella reading this year's 'It' novel, be sure that the City of Cape Town is doing what they can to ensure you as a beachgoer is kept as safe as possible - even from the sky!

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After yet another gruesome stabbing at Cape Town's Clifton beach earlier this month, something had to be done to ensure the safety of locals and visitors alike. 

This weekend, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith and staff visited some of the Mother City's most popular beaches like Muizenberg, Strandfontein, Mnandi, and Strand. This forms part of the pilot project initiative that launched at the beginning of December to up police visibility and presence in public spaces.

"The City has contracted the use of a helicopter over the peak festive season, to help with the implementation of the festive season plan, including monitoring beaches, other tourist and visitor areas, city swimming pools, and other recreation facilities.

"Staff have reported very positive results, this includes being able to react to serious violent crime and other medical incidents. The experience has been positive enough as a pilot programme, that it has caused us to start discussions with commercial contractors to see if there is a model in which the City would be able to contribute to the purchasing of a helicopter without the expense of ongoing running costs, where the commercial operator would use the helicopter some of the time, and the City would use it the rest. We will advise the public if we'll be able to make more extensive use of the helicopter, particularly in high crime areas, where we believe its application will be very useful," Smith told Traveller24 exclusively. 

Richard Bosman, Executive Director for Safety and Security at The City of Cape Town told Traveller24 that the influx of domestic and international visitors, as well as residents means beaches and facilities are filled to capacity and there is an increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic on our roads.

"Crime and illegal activities have developed to such an extent that it is required of us to utilise more advanced technology and tools at our disposal, to detect and respond in an attempt to stabilise crime in and around our area of responsibility," says Bosman.  

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The Metro Police has thus embarked on an initiative to assist with the quest to address incidents from an aerial approach on priority days during the festive season.  

"This opportunity will also assist us to document and photograph areas of concern, especially around beach areas and the way it influences vehicular traffic patterns.  This initiative includes various other role players, to combat crime and manage traffic, especially along the coastal areas and traffic congestion during peak periods.

"It assists us in monitoring our beach and resort areas to ensure that staff are deployed optimally on a daily basis. A further purpose of this exercise is to promote safety in our city and create a visible police presence by aerial means. We will endeavour to have a paramedic on our helicopter patrols, in instances of drownings, water rescues, motor vehicle collisions or incidents requiring medical attention," says Bosman. 

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