Cape Town – About 11 000 police officers across the country have been trained to use new technology to track down vandals stealing cables from Metrorail.
The technology – data dot – is set to result in faster investigations, quicker prosecutions and a higher conviction rate of rail cable thieves.
The technology entails tagging assets with microscopic unique identification dots, which allows assets to be easily tracked back to the original owner.
Undetectable by the naked eye, the dots become visible under ultraviolet light and are impossible to remove from items protected by the technology.
The invention is currently widely used in the investigation, prosecution and successful conviction of car thieves.
On Friday, Metrorail Western Cape said they were among the first in the country to use it in the fight against rising vandalism, which costs them millions of rands.
Metrorail estimated that the direct cost of vandalism in the province for the last year was a conservative R9 million.
Vandalism resulted in train delays, commuters arriving late at work and reduced productivity in industries.
Metrorail regional manager Lindelo Matya said the technology would “enable police to confiscate stolen assets, make it very difficult for thieves to sell their stolen wares and reduce the likelihood of crime”.
“These preventative measures will contribute to reducing opportunities to commit crime and reduce the lucrative stolen goods market,” he said, adding that they continued to explore other ways to prevent vandalism.
Metrorail has been engaging 10 communities most affected by vandalism in the last two months, highlighting the negative outcomes of vandalism.
“Communities have welcomed us and understand the issues that prevent us from delivering a reliable service better,” said Matya. – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews
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