Law enforcement praises technology for helping fight crime

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 10:54 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Keeping the community safe now comes with the flash of a solar-powered camera. Local law enforcement praised the technology for helping them solve crimes.

These days, no matter where you go, it’s likely your picture has been taken.

Cities across Alabama were ramping up security, installing Flock Cameras as a part of their crime-fighting strategy.

“Stolen vehicle, wanted persons, Silver alerts, Amber Alerts, registered sex offenders and other notifications like that,” Cpt. Shane Ware with the Vestavia Hill’s Police Department explained.

Cpt. Ware said the cameras recently helped them catch a man accused of shooting into another car during a road rage incident.

“It took us about an hour with the aid of the flock cameras to identify the suspect, and then not long after that we were able to go to the suspect’s home and take him into custody,” Ware said.

Josh Thomas with Flock Safety said the technology works by taking numerous pictures of cars throughout the day. At the time this article was written, Thomas said there were about 200 cameras installed across Alabama by both public and private entities.

“We take a picture of the back of a car. And they can tell you to make the type, the color, the license plate number, the state of the license plate,” Josh Thomas, VP marketing Flock Safety said.

The way it works is authorities plug what they’re looking for into the system, the cameras, if the car they’re looking for has crossed one of them, can pinpoint where that vehicle may be.

Thomas said the $2,500 camera, solar-powered technology, which only takes pictures, is giving law enforcement a leg up on criminals.

The company also takes steps to safeguard privacy.

“We never use facial recognition technology. We don’t identify race or gender. All the footage is automatically deleted every 30 days on a rolling basis. So, there is no massive database that’s being collected here,” Thomas explained.

Cpt. Ward said Vestavia Hill’s had the cameras for two years and embraced technology’s assistance.

“Technology is great, but it will never replace the human element of a police officer on the street doing his or her job. But we will take the assistance of the automated license plate readers as we can get it because it’s been very helpful,” Ward said.


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