City of Cape Town launches new secret crime fighting weapon ‘Eye-in-the-Sky’

City of Cape Town has launched new crime fighting secret weapon ‘Eye-in-the-Sky’. The city has demonstrated it as a powerful crime-fighting aerial surveillance technology during a search, staged for rescue and car chase scenario on Monday, May 06, 2024.

The presentation for the same was observed by Premier Alan Winde, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Safety and Security – Alderman JP Smith.

Considering the same, Mayor of Cape Town – Geordin Hill-Lewis has also shared a video regarding the same on his official ‘X’ account and captioned, “Eye-in-the-Sky: Cape Town’s new crime-fighting secret weapon is now in the air.”

Mayor Lewis said, “I’m excited to see the ‘Eye-in-the-Sky’ joining our City’s crime fighting tech capabilities. This is how we are making Cape Town safer for everyone!”

Information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) technology of the city Cape Town will take information, gathering it to the next level in the fight against gang incidents, poaching, stolen vehicles, vegetation fires and various criminal activities.

ISR is commonly referred to as Eye-in-the-Sky which is a two-seater piloted aircraft fitted with state-of-the-art cameras to provide high-definition aerial imagery for smarter policing operations.

Reportedly, the aircraft can fly higher than a drone and is fitted with infrared cameras and allows it to register the heat resonating from recently fired firearm, body heat in cold water or even the wheels of a speeding vehicle.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis is glad to accept the new technology and said, “Welcome to the future of crime fighting in Cape Town! I can’t wait to see this Eye-in-the-sky technology in use alongside the other tech we are investing in, including drones, dashcams, bodycams, gunshot detection, licence-plate recognition cameras and EPIC – the master digital co-ordination systems for all City crime prevention.”

The Mayor of Cape Town confirmed that the city is investing R610m in various safety tech over three years and has already invested R200m in the current financial year 2024-25.

“Crucially, all of our investments cannot substitute for a well-functioning police service. We have to keep fighting for the devolution of more policing powers, especially the power for our officers to investigate crime,” said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Furthermore, Premier of the Western Cape – Alan Winde said that he is impressed by Eye-in-the-Sky’s crime fighting capability that will give the edge to the 1300 new officers that have been deployed via the LEAP partnership between the Western Cape Government and the City.

However, the morning demonstration showed how the City is ale to carry out a search, rescue and chase operation using integrated technology, from aerial surveillance, to bodycams on officers and license-plate recognition cameras along highways. It is a big step towards smarter policing, where the technology should better be utilised, said Premier Winde.

Eye-in-the-Sky aircraft is a Cessna 337, piloted by trained, experienced professionals. The city intends the technology’s use to help in other instances beyond enforcement, including the monitoring of high voltage lines, vandalism of vital infrastructure, coastal impact and biodiversity related issues.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Safety and Security – Alderman JP Smith said that the ISR technology has the versatility to cover larger geographical areas. It stays in the air for longer periods doing reconnaissance flights and is less dependant on weather than drones.

He further added, “We are excited about the prospects of this secret weapon, especially in combatting drug-dealing, gun violence and gang activity. The aircraft also assist with improving rapid response time by officers during planned operations as precise information can be relayed.”

Alderman Smith stated further that recently on April 30, 2024, the city’s Eye-in-the-Sky will closely record poachers in Hout Bay from kilometres away, while enabling a raid on the startled criminals at their nearby residence.

More than 3,000 crayfish and a high-powered boat was seized with the entire crime documented for prosecution, said JP Smith.