JOHANNESBURG — Police in Cape Town, South Africa, are relying on technology developed in the U.S. to help crack down on gang violence. ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system, that when used with surveillance video, can identify suspects. 

As CBS News’ Debora Patta reports, in one case, video captured a shootout, and police were able to track down and convict the main suspect thanks to that combination of technology.

“On the one hand, you have what essentially are robotic ears, this ear, this listening device, this sensitive listening device that detects the shots,” Patta said. “Then the cameras turn around, and you have the robotic eyes. Together, the solution is improving the situation.”

Cape Town is a tourist destination known for its beaches. But it’s also considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

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Police are trying to crack down on violence in Cape Town.

CBS News

“Whilst many parts of Cape Town and particularly the tourist areas are incredibly safe, it has high statistics, murder statistics, because of gang-related violence,” Patta said. “So there are little areas within Cape Town, what’s known as the Cape Flats, which are incredibly dangerous, incredibly volatile, and incredibly violent.”

ShotSpotter and surveillance footage is just one part of the puzzle. Patta says there’s also a focus on improved policing, including a designated drug and gang-related task force as well as investigative units. Officials in Cape Town hope this will increase conviction rates, improving the lives of people in the areas dealing with the most gang activity.

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