Here at Flock Safety, we focus our attention on helping police solve nonviolent or property crimes. Our thesis, as we’ll explain below, is that we can effectively do this with devices that primarily focus on license plate recognition.
Property crime is a big business. According to FBI statistics, nationwide, there was an estimated 7,919,035 property crimes in 2016. “Collectively, victims of property crimes suffered losses estimated at $15.6 billion.”
But believe it or not, more than half of property crimes are not even reported to police. And even if it is reported, there’s a very small chance that it will be solved. According to Pew Research, “Police clearance rates also vary significantly by crime type. Only 13% of burglaries, 13% of motor vehicle thefts and 22% of larcenies and thefts were cleared in 2015.”
And it’s not because law enforcement isn’t doing their job; it’s often because there is no evidence. Even with alarm systems and home surveillance cameras in many homes today, there’s rarely actionable enough evidence to solve a crime.
To Flock Safety, this was shocking. So we set out to build a product that could actually help solve crime. And it became clear that the best way to do that was to provide better evidence to police. We built our cameras with License Plate Recognition (LPR) capabilities, because we hear time and again from law enforcement that a license plate is the best piece of evidence. Not a human, not a face — a license plate.
We knew we were on to something when we helped solve a crime in Dekalb County with license plate evidence. We believe the detective on the case said it best: “With Flock’s system, we were able to successfully solve an incident that in any other situation would have been a cold case.”
We know we aren’t going to solve every single nonviolent crime. But what if we could help drive that clearance rate up? There’s a lot of opportunity here and we are hoping to use proven, objective evidence — license plates — to do just that.