Flock Safety helps 10 neighborhoods in Colorado feel safer. We serve neighborhoods in Denver, Lone Tree, Sheridan, and Aurora. Resident privacy is a top priority for Flock. Flock will never share or sell your data.
For the neighborhood in Aurora, their HOA and neighborhood kept Flock system access to just HOA Board members.
License plate readers posted at both entrances to an upscale Aurora neighborhood snapped pictures of passing cars Wednesday, recording the type, color and license plate number of each vehicle and inputting that information into a database.
Such technology used to be relegated to law enforcement. But these cameras were purchased by the local homeowner association in January after a few burglaries of cars and a home in the neighborhood. Red signs near the cameras warn passerby of “24/7 Video Recording.”
“It’s going to keep us safer,” said Richard Warshaw, president of the Bel-Aire Estates Owners Association.
Forget doorbell cams — some Denver-area neighborhoods are now equipping their streets with cameras that will photograph your car and scan your license plate. Such license plate readers stand ever vigilant in 10 neighborhoods in Denver, Lone Tree, Sheridan and Aurora, according to Flock Safety, the company that sells them.
“Crime, whether or not it’s up, it sure feels like it,” said Garrett Langley, co-founder and CEO of Flock Safety.
The motion-activated cameras record 24/7 and can capture the license plate number, vehicle type and color of any vehicle traveling up to 75 mph and up to 75 feet away, according to the company. The cameras also capture pictures of pedestrians and cyclists.
Images of the vehicle are then uploaded to the company’s Amazon Web Services cloud server and the data collected from the image becomes part of a searchable database. The HOA members with access can then search the database by time or vehicle description. They can also give police access to the footage if a crime is reported.
Flock Safety promises its customers it will not access the images without permission and will not sell the data collected to a third party. Those who live in the neighborhood can register their license plate with the system and the computer will automatically erase any images of those vehicles. All the data stored on the cloud are encrypted, and all data are deleted after 30 days, according to the company.
Each neighborhood is responsible for creating its own policies about who can access the images, which are owned by the customers, not the company.
The cameras themselves aren’t necessarily a violation of privacy, said Gidari, the Stanford privacy expert. They are collecting images of people traveling in public, where people implicitly give consent to being seen and photographed, he said.
Warshaw, the HOA president, said he received a call Tuesday from someone interested in buying the house across the street from him. The prospective buyer asked about the license plate readers.
“He was happy they were there,” Warshaw said.