Kept: Cape Town bets on crime-fighting tech

Promise date: 18 November 2021
Due date: 2 November 2026
Source: Acceptance speech
Promise outcome: Kept

In the first speech he gave as Cape Town mayor in November 2021, Geordin Hill-Lewis made a handful of promises – among them that the metro would invest in modern crime-fighting technology. Did he stick to his promise? We checked.

Crime – particularly the devolution of policing powers – has been one of Hill-Lewis’s favourite talking points. In his annual Mayoral Minute, which gives an overview of the past year in office, he described crime as “one of our top priorities”.

The crime-fighting technology implemented on Hill-Lewis’s watch includes gunshot location technology, which returned to the metro in December 2022.

In a media release, the company behind the technology claimed it had detected “68 gunfire incidents and 224 total shots fired in the coverage area” within less than two weeks.

The technology has been deployed in a 9 km2 area of Hanover Park. The thinking is that it would increase officer response times.

However, the Mail & Guardian reports that the local community policing forum opposes the project because of the cost.

Other examples of crime-related technology Hill-Lewis mentioned in his Mayoral Minute are drones and manned aerial information gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Of drones and aerial surveillance, Hill-Lewis has said: “That technology has the potential to make a really meaningful difference, to get high resolution, high-definition camera eyes on any scene inside the city within minutes.”

Note: We asked the mayor’s spokesperson what the city’s investment in crime-fighting technology has cost and what results it has achieved and will add his comments if received.

Since the city has invested in modern crime-fighting technology under Hill-Lewis’s political leadership, we rate the promise as kept.

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