Public Domes
Knowing where criminals have come from and where they are going is imperative to being proactive in fighting crime. By strategically placing our surveillance systems in various intersections and known access routes, combined with 24-hour monitoring at our stateof-the-art NOC (Network Command Centre), we have the ability to proactively deploy Mi7 National Group assets to drive back the criminal scourge descending upon our communities.

Our cameras are equipped with class-leading technology, which is connected to the government’s e-Natis system, allowing us to recognise number plates for vehicles used in the commission of crimes anywhere in the country.

The system also recognises standout features on a suspect’s clothing – a brand logo or wording for example – and helps us track the suspect via that feature across our entire camera network.

The system is synced to our armed response vehicles through an on-board interface, allowing our reaction o¬fficers to view and query any flagged vehicle as and when needed. Each of these
units scan the plates of up to 30 000 vehicles per hour and automatically flag those wanted in the commission of crimes anywhere in the country.

By January 2022, we had installed more than 56 of these cameras in and around Pietermaritzburg, Hilton and Howick – giving us a bird’s eye view over criminal movements in these towns.

And these have led to a number of successes. In the first six weeks of 2022, Mi7 National Group has recorded almost a dozen successes relating to stolen vehicles and drug activity. For example:
• On February 7, one of Mi7’s cameras flagged a white Ford Ranger bakkie with a Gauteng registration which was reported stolen as per a Kempton Park case. The vehicle was flagged entering the Northdale area. Various Mi7 armed response units were immediately dispatched, and local police officers informed. The vehicle was spotted and brought to a halt on the R33. One suspect was arrested, and the vehicle impounded.

• On February 6, the same camera flagged a vehicle suspected to have been used in drugrelated crimes. The vehicle was flagged entering the Northdale area and Mi7 reaction officers were immediately made aware. Various units were dispatched to scout the area and the vehicle was eventually spotted on Allandale Drive. Along with members of the Mountain Rise police, Mi7 reaction officers brought the vehicle to a stop. After conducting a search of the vehicle, drugs were found inside. The driver of the vehicle was arrested.

• On February 1, a camera in the Townhill area flagged a white Toyota Hilux. Mi7 reaction officers conducted a widespread search and eventually, the vehicle was spotted and brought to a halt on the corners of Townbush and Warwick roads. It is believed the vehicle had been cloned.

From only having three surveillance systems in the Ashburton area in 2020, Mi7 National Group has bolstered its effort to cast a city-wide surveillance net over Pietermaritzburg to ensure criminal activity can be closely monitored. As of March 2022, the company had installed a total of 132 surveillance systems in Pietermaritzburg, Hilton and Howick. In addition to the 56 units equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition software mentioned above, Mi7 National Group has also installed 76 CCTV surveillance systems at strategic intersections. These units provide a constant feed to the control room around the clock. In total, these domes record around 1250 hours of footage per day. All the above are in effort to cast a surveillance net in our greater operational areas.

Aerial Surveillance
Mi7 National Group also employs the use of stateof-the-art drone technology to detect approaching threats.

Drones, equipped with thermal sensor technology, are deployed to scan large areas for impending threats. Footage returned is then used to proactively mobilise our resources in the direction of the threat. Drones are also used for tracking the heat signatures emitted from the bodies of suspected individuals where lighting and visibility is minimal.

The drones have an average flying time of one hour, dependent on the surveillance mode being utilised. This ensures there is sufficient time to assess the area or track a suspect.

As an addition, unlike other security companies, we also use drones for evidence gathering. Drones provide an aerial view of the strike action, and track the movement and activities of participants. Our drones have a number of functions, including geo-tracking where the device will fly to inputted coordinates and remain in that vicinity. Flight routes with multiple coordinates can also be programmed to ensure coverage of vast areas.

Our drones also have a number of additional attachments like spotlights to either direct lost persons with greater ease or to enhance vision in low-light areas. Additionally, our drones have builtin loudhailers – this allows us to convey warnings or instructions to a crowd before they get nearer to the protected vicinity.

Some of the drone’s features include:
• An integrated Radiometric FLIR® Thermal Sensor
• 12 MP 1/2.3” CMOS sensor
• Dynamic zoom with 2x optical and 3x digital zoom capabilities
• Post analysis metadata and GPS timestamping
• Adjustable parameters and multiple display modes including infrared

Specialised Surveillance Vehicles
Imperative to threat mitigation is the ability to detect and track threats to the overall security plan.

Mi7 National Group utilizes a Mobile Command Centre – a large vehicle equipped with state-ofthe-art surveillance systems to monitor crowd activity and identify possible threats and criminal activity.

The on-board surveillance systems are solar powered and can therefore be stationed on site for a number of days without power from the vehicle’s battery. The Mobile Command Centre is dispatched with a four-man team, including a driver, armed supervisor, and two dedicated surveillance operators. These operators are tasked with navigating the on-board ‘Dahua’ camera systems, an imported product capable of either day scanning, thermal heat locating or night vision for up to two kilometres.

The vehicle has built-in mobile internet solutions, such as LTE, so online connection can be maintained in remote locations. This level of connectivity also means that all the vehicle’s
surveillance systems can be accessed and operated remotely from anywhere in the world.

Intel NUC i5 mini computers allow for fast access to software solutions like NAVIC – which is number plate tracking software – linked to our vehicle’s cameras. This gives the vehicle the ability to flag others used, or wanted, in the commission of crime anywhere in the country.

As mentioned above, the vehicle’s surveillance systems are equipped with a four-megapixel PTZ camera with low-light (night) and thermal vision which gives operators as 360-degree view from inside the vehicle.

Thermal functionality allows for more effective night operations, giving teams real-time visual information on areas with thick vegetation, dense forestry or buildings. Operators can then relay this vital information to teams working on foot or patrolling the area in other vehicles.