BeOne, Author at Safe City


Vumacam forms alliance with major vehicle intelligence company.
Vumacam is forming an alliance with cloud vehicle intelligence company NAVIC to expand the coverage and impact of the SafeCity initiative across South Africa.
SafeCity Surveillance system.

To date, the initiative has been powered only by Vumacam technology and cameras.

Vumacam and NAVIC will now combine their technology and extensive camera networks to combat crime more effectively.

“The alliance will support the SafeCity initiative and is set to immediately enhance coordinated efforts to tackle crime in South Africa,” the companies said.

Key to the partnership will be leveraging Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, which can help identify and track vehicles using their number plates across multiple camera feeds.

“Vumacam’s network statistics show an astounding 80% of arrests or successful interceptions are due to ANPR cameras flagging vehicles of interest (VOIs) linked to an array of crimes, from fraud and theft to more serious offences such as murder and aggravated assault,” Vumacam said.

“Similarly, NAVIC’s ANPR network and cloud platform has a significant effect on apprehension rates, illustrating the efficacy of the technology in crime prevention and detection.”

Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock said that collaborating with NAVIC brought an additional level of expertise and network expansion to the SafeCity initiative.

“Combining our key competencies and teams’ expertise will enhance our ability to deliver solutions that make a real difference in supporting private and public law enforcement and curbing crime,” Croock said.

Ricky Croock, Vumacam CEO
Ricky Croock, Vumacam CEO

NAVIC CEO Jason Berry said the fight against crime will be more effective when key roleplayers work together.

“This lays the foundation for further collaboration between the two companies, on unarguably the largest ANPR/CCTV network in the country, benefitting multiple market sectors.”

Although the companies will be working as a collective to expand SafeCity, they will maintain autonomy in the services provided to clients.

Vumacam said its track record of success in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Mogale City complemented NAVIC’s strong ANPR and related tools and operational experience in both the large and smaller metros, as well as bespoke services for rural areas across the country.

“The company also has a history of successful collaboration with security companies, municipalities, neighbourhood watch organisations and community groups across South Africa,” Vumacam said.

“This will enhance the initiative’s support for private and public law enforcement in ensuring that lives and livelihoods in communities across South Africa are protected.”

Vumacam recently expanded its SafeCity initiative into Tshwane, aiming to provide more comprehensive coverage.

“We anticipate making the same impactful contributions in Tshwane as we have seen in other regions, leveraging the proven effectiveness of Vumacam’s infrastructure and NAVIC’s advanced tools,” the company said.



Netstar Joins SafeCity Iniative To Bring Cutting-Edge Technology To Their Customers In Gauteng
Vumacam is delighted to announce that Netstar has become a proud partner of the SafeCity Initiative, which is powered by Vumacam. By embracing this initiative, Netstar aims to add further value to its existing services, while utilising proven crime-fighting technology to ensure the highest standards of safety for all its customers.

Vehicle tracking and telematics company Netstar has partnered with Vumacam on its SafeCity initiative to enhance surveillance across Gauteng.

The Vumacam SafeCity Initiative uses an extensive CCTV camera network to bolster security and visibility in coverage areas. Netstar says it can leverage the technology to identify suspicious activities rapidly.

“This is critical to understanding criminal patterns to aid crime prevention and support criminal investigations,” it said.

Residents will also be empowered by access to a dedicated Telegram group that will communicate all elements of crime and success reports, helping to keep them abreast of all suspicious activities in the area and take proactive actions to keep their family and loved ones safe. 

“Furthermore, Netstar will be able to employ video verification using Vumacam’s cutting-edge license plate recognition to assist with vehicle location and thus shortening vehicle recovery time.”

Netstar Group managing director Grant Fraser said the initiative will also benefit their Gauteng-based customers.

“With this new partnership, we are extending our offering to give customers an extra layer of protection,” said Fraser.

“Should a client’s vehicle tracking device be compromised for whatever reason, we will now also be able to monitor the whereabouts of the vehicle by tapping into the SafeCity network of CCTV cameras.”

Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock said the initiative has led to more than 400 “interceptions” each month and reiterated the importance of forming partnerships like the one it has with Netstar.

“We have seen how our technology is helping to turn the tide against crime in Gauteng with current interceptions sitting at over 400 monthly,” said Croock.

“These interceptions are driven not only by our advanced technology but also by our collaborations with partners like Netstar.”

The SafeCity initiative and network of cameras are currently only available in Gauteng, with future expansion planned for other South African metros.

The initiative recently expanded to the City of Tshwane, with Vumacam erecting the first surveillance pole in September 2023.

Vumacam announced that the rollout had started in July, and it initially targeted the start of August for its launch.

The first phase will see 185 poles go live in 33 of the municipality’s 107 wards over three months. It will provide at least 185 overview cameras and 370 licence plate recognition cameras.

However, Vumacam noted that this depends on the city’s approval of wayleave applications.

The poles are connected to a fibre backbone, with power backups to ensure they continue to operate through power cuts.

“We see high volumes of interceptions daily in Johannesburg through the use of our technology and collaboration with our private security and law enforcement partners,” said Michael Varney, Vumacam’s chief commercial officer.

“While we have just launched in Tshwane, the uptake has been impressive, and we believe the tide will turn against crime in Tshwane as it has in Johannesburg.”


SafeCity Initiative Rolls Out Across Johannesburg: A Step Towards Safer Communities
The City of Johannesburg is a bustling city with a large population and unfortunately, like many urban areas around the world, crime is a major issue. However, the SafeCity Initiative aims to change that. The initiative, launched by Vumacam, aims to provide additional safety to communities across Johannesburg and close the gaps in previously unprotected areas through technology and the partnership between Fidelity ADT and other security providers.

Vumacam has invested a further R60 million into the SafeCity Initiative by installing and activating 1 850 cameras across the city. Of these, 350 new cameras will be installed in previously unprotected areas. As a SafeCity partner, Fidelity ADT and other providers will now have access to the full network of over 7000 of Vumacam’s cameras, providing city-wide situational awareness crucial to understanding criminal patterns, preventing crimes, and assisting with investigations. 

According to Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group, “Greater city-wide access to camera networks outside of our standard areas of operation will assist with crime prevention and investigations and allow us the opportunity to monitor more areas and stop criminals before they get to our neighbourhoods with the aid of more advanced surveillance software, including AI technology.” 

The SafeCity initiative is designed to close gaps where criminals can hide. It also has other benefits, including protecting critical public infrastructure, such as traffic lights and cellular towers, which will prevent unnecessary disruptions to residents’ daily lives. Making recreation areas safer, including various green belts in collaboration with City Parks, is another key benefit. “Increased cameras across arterial routes and green spaces mean that recreational activities such as running, walking, and cycling can be done with greater peace of mind, knowing that there is another level of security,” Bartmann explains. 

Residents will also be empowered by access to a dedicated Telegram group that will communicate all elements of crime and success reports, helping to keep them abreast of all suspicious activities in the area and take proactive actions to keep their family and loved ones safe. 

The initiative connects private security providers and SAPS through Business Against Crime South Africa’s (BACSA) Eyes and Ears (E2) Fusion Centre for powerful collaboration. “Fidelity has its own command centre that provides hourly updates in the event of any unrest, so this will also interface with the centre providing accurate and verified intelligence,” confirms Bartmann. 

The SafeCity Initiative is a highly effective solution to fast-track coverage and help protect the vulnerable and under-protected. “Public spaces are often a challenge,” says Bartmann. “With SafeCity, we can now be alerted to any incidents of vandalism, illegal dumping, and theft in public spaces, so we can quickly contact the necessary authorities to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly dealt with.” 

As with any community initiative, collaboration is essential to achieve the best results. “Together with Vumacam and residents in the community, we are committed to turning the tide on crime in the City of Johannesburg and appeal to communities to stand together and help contribute to this initiative. Fidelity’s own customer subscription base will now make a monthly contribution,” concludes Bartmann. 

In conclusion, the SafeCity initiative is a highly effective solution to fast-track coverage to help protect the vulnerable and under-protected communities. With the installation of new cameras, advanced surveillance technology, and collaboration between private security providers and SAPS, the SafeCity initiative is a significant step towards creating safer communities in Johannesburg. 


Vumacam responds to US concern over its use of Hikvision Hardware
Vumacam notes with concern the mention of Vumacam and its use of Hikvision cameras in Resolution 145 made to the US House of Representatives and referred to the Committee Foreign Affairs on 21 February 2023. The Resolution opposes the Republic of South Africa’s hosting of military exercises with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, in which the Biden administration was called on to conduct a thorough review of the United States-South Africa relationship.
The Resolution incorrectly states that “Vumacam, a South African company building a nationwide CCTV network, has partnered with Chinese company Hikvision for the cameras’ hardware.” Vumacam has formally responded to clarify inaccuracies in the resolution.
It has not partnered with Hikvision, but uses hardware from multiple vendors, of which Hikvision is one of many. “There is no partnership in place between Hikvision and Vumacam. Where the resolution notes concerns of the cameras’ use for spying, we again emphasise that any hardware is susceptible to penetration risk if not properly managed, regardless of its brand or country of origin. Vumacam’s strong focus on system security across its network (which is run by its own proprietary platform which undergoes rigorous and regular testing) ensures that it may not be used for any nefarious reason, party or individual,” says Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock.
While we note the Resolution’s concern regarding South Africa’s hosting of Russian and Chinese military activities, we emphasise that Vumacam is a private entity and our cameras and operations are used solely to prevent, investigate, and monitor criminal activity, accidents and malicious damage to infrastructure. Our network is utilised mostly by private security companies, and while we are strongly committed to collaborative efforts with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to tackle concerning levels of crime in the country, our cameras and networks are not programmed, adapted or optimised to be used for spying. 

We do not make use of facial recognition technology and the cameras in our networks (whether Hikvision or alternate brands) are not fit for this purpose. This has been extensively documented in the media and in our own communications.

Over and above this, state of the art technology is deployed across our systems and regularly tested to ensure that they are secure.
We regularly review and consider the hardware used in our systems and while we have to date made use of Hikvision – as do many private and governmental institutions globally – we acknowledge the US and UK ban on the use of Hikvision and the reasons therefore. Vumacam bases all decisions on sound business and ethical practice, and will consider all factors of current concern in decision making in future vendor decisions.


Let’s turn the tide together so that “safe” is not just a four-letter word
Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock rallies all South Africans to tackle the crime epidemic.

In South Africa, the words “is it safe?” are probably used far more regularly than in most places. But we don’t mean things like “Is it safe to go outside in a thunderstorm?” or, “It’s not safe to play in traffic.” When we ask if it is safe for teenagers to go to a party or, to drive on a dark road at night, we understand the usual risks. Sadly, we also know that at any moment we can have our lives changed by the violent crime that plagues our country.

While we believe in everything our country has to offer, statistics show that we also live in one of the world’s most dangerous countries, we are not safe and that’s the foundation on which we start each day.  

This reality is unacceptable in a paradise with endless beauty, bountiful resources, and endless possibilities. But the daily threat of crime robs us of lives, livelihoods and what we work so hard to earn. It stops business in its tracks and robs us of our ability to thrive and live in peace. Crime and criminals make our country THEIR paradise and destroy the meaning of “safe.” 
South Africans have varying levels of access to tools that make us feel safer – there are those with alarm systems, private security companies, car trackers and those who have little to protect their homes; who don’t have alarms but rely on neighbourhood groups and communities and the strained resources of SAPS. Parents have to hope that their children will make it home safely from school or when using public transport.  
Safety is a basic human need, and a right enshrined in our constitution. But for most, it’s not a given but rather, an ambition … something that we aspire to, but which we have very little control over.  
The impact is devastating – physically, economically, and mentally. How long should we remain victims? Who are the people who should change what we have adapted to as our “normal.” The government? Police? Business? Our private security companies? The courts? Our community groups? Our politicians? Us as individuals?
The truth is, dealing with crime is so engrained in us that it will take an extraordinary effort from all of us if we want things to change.
I’m super positive about our country – but we need to be proactive and not put our heads in the sand and hope it will all go away.
We are being killed, held hostage, shot at, raped, and kidnapped. Our infrastructure is being destroyed, businesses are being robbed and looted, and our police are trying to ward off criminals without the basic tools for the job, let alone access to advanced technology available globally. Our private security companies have had to invest heavily to access such tools and while we have pockets of “well protected” areas, everyone traverses outside these bubbles where there is no cover.
I have been involved in fighting crime most of my life and one thing has always been apparent – there is success and progress made in pockets, but this is often quickly eroded by a failure in areas not afforded the same level of expertise or service. And that keeps me up at night.
When I started Vumacam, it was with a view of using CCTV cameras and technology to support private security companies and the SAPS. While it has been immensely successful in Gauteng, where we concentrated our efforts to prove the model of a city-wide smart camera network, but there are still gaps where criminals can hide. We need your help to close them.
Today, Vumacam is the country’s largest CCTV and security technology operator. We have engaged with various municipalities to allow us to expand into new regions and we will strive to deliver a national rollout of Vumacam infrastructure, one municipality at a time.
This year we launched SafeCity – an initiative that connects our private security partners and public law enforcement. SafeCity Partners can now access the full Vumacam network to gain the city-wide situational awareness critical to understanding criminal patterns and movements, assist with crime prevention and investigations and have the backup and support of SAPS when they need it most.
Our common technology platform has been purpose-built to enable this collaboration with the support of hi-tech systems designed to combat crime more effectively safely, and efficiently.
The first phase is Vumacam’s support of E2 – an official, coordinated joint crime fighting initiative between the South African Police Service (SAPS), Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and the Private Security Industry (PSI). It uses CCTV, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analytics to drive a highly coordinated, agile response to crimes in progress and criminal investigations.
Where we have our cameras, and a crime is being committed, or a vehicle of interest (VOI) passes by, an alert is triggered in private security control rooms and the E2 Fusion Centre. Algorithms and artificial intelligence drive the ability to detect suspicious behaviour and create system alerts – whether it’s someone being attacked, a weapon alert, abandoned objects, infrastructure being vandalised, or even an accident or a tree falling. Our License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras flag VOI that have been involved in crimes or suspected crimes. Across our network we are averaging around 28 000 VOI alerts a day.
We’ve also made privacy a priority, and we believe that globally, our systems are best-in-class in terms of securing data and protecting privacy.
Private funding also enables us to add more cameras into under-resourced areas, allowing protection for broader communities. We cannot accept that securing our home or community is only accessible for wealthier South Africans. Building a seamless network that allows people to move across a city in safe zones is the only viable way to protect people longer term. While research shows that crime in our country is at the highest levels yet, it also shows that people feel safer where CCTV is in place and when there is collaboration. We recently conducted research in Gauteng, where our smart camera network is most comprehensive, which showed that 99% of respondents have been impacted by crime at some point in their lives. 83% of respondents expressed fear for their personal safety. On average, the majority of respondents supported the concept of SafeCity, and more collaboration between the SAPS and private security companies with the use of technology. 87% of respondents said they would like to see more coordinated public security initiatives to combat criminal behaviour. To view the full research report, follow this link – The SafeCity Research Report
Creating SafeCity initiatives across the country means that safety is not just a privilege for some, but a right for all. We can achieve this by using smart technology to drive safe outcomes. It allows us all to become active role players in preventing and reporting crime, it allows public resources to benefit from private support and for collaboration to have effective outcomes.
What can you do? 
  • Support and contribute to your security company’s SafeCity drive – this assists us in setting up cameras in new areas or providing more coverage in your area.It allows your security company access to the city-wide network to investigate crimes committed not only at your residence or in your suburb, but across the city – perhaps where you, family or staff study, work, visit or travel.  
  • In addition, it supports the E2 Fusion Centre and ensures that SAPS and private security companies can collaborate to apprehend and arrest criminals.  
  • Ask your security company if they are a SafeCity member and if not, ask them to sign up. 
  • Actively report crimes when you see them happen to SAPS or to a security company in your area. 
  • Take down details (number plates or clothing descriptions) when criminal activity is suspected and pass this on to SAPS or your security company. 
  • Develop community support – know your Neighbours’ contact numbers and establish a process for reporting crime or providing support if someone is in need.  
  • Set up neighborhood groups to walk children to and from school or to and from public transport. 
  • Make use of apps such as Aura to quickly call for help or report crime and send help to a direct location. 
  • Where your education, training, or expertise could assist crime fighting in our country, volunteer your services to SAPS or Community Policing Forums. 
This fight will need all of us standing together – however we are able – whether by using specialist knowledge and skills, committing to report crime taking place or building community efforts to tackle crime and create networks of support.
As Vumacam, we have taken what I believe is one progressive step in tackling crime and I look forward to standing proudly with other experts, leaders and citizens across the country who choose to play their role. Allowing “safe” to mean something tangible not just for some but for everyone in our beautiful country.


The SafeCity Research Report
In March 2022, Vumacam commissioned research in the Gauteng region to understand residents perceptions and experience of crime and how to tackle, prevent and investigate it. This research aimed to gauge public support levels for the rollout of the SafeCity Initiative on a national level.

Please click below to read the full report.


Joburg’s camera surveillance network is growing
CAP has partnered with Vumacam to launch a SafeCity Initiative that will see Vumacam activate an additional 1,850 cameras across the city which includes 350 new cameras installed in previously unprotected areas.

The Community Active Protection (CAP) initiative, a non-profit security scheme that protects suburbs throughout the North of Johannesburg, has partnered with  Vumacam to expand the latter’s surveillance network.

CAP says it works with SAPS to fight crime by apprehending criminals anywhere in Johannesburg.

“The Vumacam platform has grown from humble beginnings to become an immensely powerful tool, and we are grateful to have the ability to be able to leverage on this,” said Sean Jammy, CAP’s chief operating officer. “While in isolation CCTV isn’t a silver bullet, as part of a larger intelligence driven operation we have seen massive benefit from Vumacam.”

CAP said it has committed to partnering with Vumacam to launch a SafeCity Initiative that will see Vumacam activate an additional 1,850 cameras across the city of which 350 new cameras will be installed in previously unprotected areas. This will instantly boost and fast track the current COJ network from 1 August 2022.

The SafeCity initiative will also provide CAP with access to the full network of Vumacam cameras meaning that CAP will now have access to over 6000 cameras to assist with crime prevention and investigations, it said.

“The SafeCity Initiative means that you and your loved ones can have additional safety in your neighbourhood streets, ride your bikes in the parks and green spaces without worry of something happening and provide security so that everyone can safely get to and from their homes,” sayid Ricky Croock, Vumacam CEO.

“The 350 new cameras will be installed across unprotected areas such as Soweto, Alexandra and Diepsloot and known crime hotspots. It will improve the collaboration between private and public sector by connecting SAPS and CAP through the Eyes and Ears (E2) Fusion Centre which will monitor escalated alerts and deploy SAPS resources to where they are needed most.”

In March Vumacam began rolling out its CCTV technology in the City of eThekwini.

“The rollout will eventually see surveillance infrastructure installed across all areas of eThekwini, with the first phase consisting of 115 poles going live at critical locations identified with the collaboration of the eThekwini Municipality, Disaster Management Centre, SAPS and the Metro Police,” it said.


Vumacam invests R60 million to expand security camera network — including Alexandra and Soweto
Ricky Croock, Vumacam’s CEO, spoke to MyBroadband on the R60 million-rand investment into the smart camera network rollout into underserved areas. The investment will see unprotected areas’ security enhanced with the cameras as well as installing along arterial routes and greenspaces.
Vumacam will invest R60 million to roll out and maintain 1,850 security cameras across Johannesburg as part of the SafeCity initiative.
The roll-out includes 350 cameras in underserved areas such as Alexandra, Soweto, and Diepsloot.
These new CCTV cameras will also cover strategic, critical public infrastructure and areas that have been recently targeted by criminals, such as the Braamfontein Spruit.
Vumacam said the Spruit area would be protected in collaboration with City Parks.
Vumacam also announced support for the Eyes and Ears Initiative (E2) — a coordinated joint crime-fighting initiative between the South African Police Service, Business Against Crime South Africa, and the private security industry.
With these initiatives, Vumacam promised its security partners greater city-wide access to camera networks outside their standard operation areas.
The company said this is a critical requirement where investigations or urgent responses are required.
Vumacam’s systems use automatic licence plate recognition and machine learning algorithms that help detect criminal activity.
It forms the backbone of the monitoring component of the initiatives, while key private security companies and SAPS can respond, investigate, and analyse footage where criminal events have taken place.

Vumacam’s existing network

Vumacam’s planned SafeCity network

Cele announced earlier this month that statistics for Q4 2021 and Q1 2022 show significant increases in murder (up 22.2%), sexual offences (13.7%), cash in transit heists (up 26.2%), and kidnappings (up 109.2%).

Croock told MyBroadband that the security industry had universally welcomed Vumacam’s support for the SafeCity and E2 initiatives.

He said it was unfair that only certain neighbourhoods have access to these cameras and that the investment allows them to go into underprotected areas that can’t necessarily afford to pay for the service.
With this investment, Vumacam would also be putting cameras in arterial routes and green belt areas, he said.

Vumacam mast with CCTV cameras

Croock said the wider network coverage into underserved areas gives their security partners a much-enhanced ability to protect their clients and serve broader South African communities.
This ensures all South Africans benefit from the technology and the collaborative power of private and public law enforcement in fighting crime.

“SafeCity is a critical step in ensuring that access to innovative solutions enables all South Africans to live safer lives,” Croock said.

“The time has come to firmly put forward a concerted, collaborative effort to tackle the escalating crime pandemic in this country.”

Tech Central

Vumacam announces big Jo’burg expansion drive
Along with the aggressive expansion into Ekurhuleni, Vumacam announced their R60-million plan to densify its Johannesburg coverage and to collaborate with partners to fight crime in the city.

Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock

A week after announcing plans for an aggressive expansion in Ekurhuleni on Gauteng’s East Rand, Vumacam has unveiled a R60-million plan to densify its Johannesburg coverage and to work with partners to fight the growing scourge of crime in the city. The CCTV operator, which has deployed thousands of security poles across Gauteng – mainly in Johannesburg – said on Friday that it has launched a “SafeCity” initiative that will include the deployment of a further 1 850 cameras across Jo’burg. The expansion plan includes:
  • Funds to “light up”, install and maintain 1 850 new cameras across Johannesburg. Of these, 350 new installations are earmarked to cover poorly protected areas such Alexandra, Soweto and Diepsloot. New cameras will also be deployed to protect “strategic, critical public infrastructure” and high-crime areas such as the Braamfontein Spruit. “This area will be protected in collaboration with City Parks,” Vumacam said.
  • Support for the Eyes and Ears Initiative (E2), a joint crime-fighting initiative between the South African Police Service (SAPS), Business Against Crime South Africa and the private security industry.
  • Greater city-wide access for Vumacam’s security partners to camera networks outside of their standard areas of operation – “a critical requirement where investigations or urgent responses are required”.
“As criminals become increasingly sophisticated, greater coordination and efficiency in intervention becomes critical,” said Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock in a statement. “While Vumacam and private security companies support the SAPS daily, E2 employs a far more coordinated approach and is a critical part of Vumacam’s mission to ensure smarter, safer cities. A hi-tech E2 “fusion centre” was launched in Johannesburg last year to monitor for criminal activity and events, and deploys resources to investigate crimes or apprehend criminals. The SafeCity model can “easily be applied in major cities across the country,” Croock said. “The launch coincides with our expansion into Mogale City, Ekurhuleni and KwaZulu-Natal, and we also hope to move into Tshwane and Cape Town with the municipalities’ support.”  — © 2022 NewsCentral Media


Karyn Maughan from eNCA chatted to Sean Jammy from CAP Security in June 2022 about the SafeCity Initiative that will see underserved areas having cameras installed and how communities taking a global view to security benefits not just some but everyone.
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