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Launch of GPS-based tracking device


South Africa’s efforts towards creating safer communities took a major step forward this week with the launch of Saab’s hand held high-tech tracking device for use by community policing activists.

Wednesday the KwaZulu Natal MEC for Safety and Liaison Willis Mchunu inaugurated the GPS-Based hand held system which will empower communities to work with the police. The system is developed by Saab and Gracan Communications for the KwaZulu Natal Department of Safety and Liaison.
Rapid response to crimes in progress

Roughly the size of a standard gate opener or panic button, the device can be carried discretely by members of the Volunteer Social Crime Prevention Project as they participate in the daily life of the community. When a button is pressed, the device automatically sends a message to the South African Police Service (SAPS) base station, identifying the volunteer and – using a built in GPS capability – his or her exact location. This allows the police to respond rapidly to crimes in progress, fights, or other emergencies.

“This is an important technological step forward which will assist us in bringing peace and stability to our communities,” said KwaZulu Natal MEC for Safety and Liaison Willis Mchunu.
Calls are logged and tracked

A messaging function on the handset allows community policing volunteers to sms details of planned criminal activities to the SAPS discretely from wherever they discover the information, whether a tavern, on the street, or elsewhere. Software integrated into the SAPS base station allows all calls to be logged, mapped, and tracked for use in further investigations or prosecutions.

“This device, which already covers 1100 volunteers in Durban and the Jozini area up to the border with Mozambique, really empowers community safety activists to work closely with the emergency services and the SAPS,” said MEC Mchunu. “As we gather experience in its day to day use we are establishing standard operating procedures and we will seek to roll the project out in other appropriate areas in the province.”


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