More Arizona Communities Use High-Tech Cameras to Identify Stolen Vehicles | Featured Articles
LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ (3TV / CBS 5) – If you drive through Litchfield Park in a stolen vehicle or have an arrest warrant, there is a good chance you will be caught, thanks to the cameras strategically placed around the city.
Litchfield Park is one of the first communities in Arizona to implement automated license plate reading cameras through a company called Flock Safety. The 32 cameras in the area are connected to a national crime database. If a crime-related stolen car or vehicle passes by, the camera will take a photo and immediately text and email the information to the Avondale police officers, who are now patrolling the area. The software is also designed to send alerts on suspicious vehicles based on their make, model and color.
“We have limited resources,” said Avondale police officer Jaret Redfearn. “We can’t be everywhere all the time, so these cameras really help our officers with investigations. We now have 32 cameras all over the city. Think of it as 32 extra pairs of crime-scouting eyes, still on the lookout for stolen vehicles. It was extremely helpful for our officers.
The cameras are currently in use in more than 1,400 cities across the country, resulting in hundreds of arrests. The system has also been used to locate missing persons reported during an Amber or Silver alert. But what about people’s right to privacy?
Josh Thomas is Vice President of Marketing at Flock Safety. Thomas said the cameras do not take any photos of people or passengers, photos are only taken on public streets, and data is only kept for a short time.
“All images are deleted after 30 days on an ongoing basis, so in fact we don’t create a database of people’s movements,” Thomas said. “It is literally about collecting evidence for the police to solve crimes, and if it is not used in this case, it is deleted for good.”
A number of HOA communities are also using technology to keep tabs on their neighborhoods. A spokesperson for Flock Safety said each camera costs around $ 2,500 per year to operate.
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