An Aurora neighborhood is among at least ten metro area communities already installing license plate readers. The technology captures the license plates of every car that comes and goes.
Residents say this is about safety
Bel Air Estates is the upscale Aurora neighborhood who ditched doorbell cameras for the more advanced license plate readers.
"To me, it's using tools properly," said longtime homeowner Joey O'Rourke.
For him, it's about safety. O'Rourke said the neighborhood has experienced a string of brazen break-ins during the day and saw this as a workable solution.
"There were break-ins and people's cars got broken into," he said.
The cameras are placed as soon as you drive into the community and are marked with clearly visible red and white signs which warn drivers they're being watched.
O'Rourke said so far, they seem to be working.
"We haven't had the incidents since they put the cameras in of the funny little instances we were having," he said.
How the cameras work
A company named Flock is behind the license plate readers. A community's private HOA owns the footage, not Flock, so therefore the company stressed it does not sell the data. Everything is stored in the Amazon cloud and deleted after 30 days.
Homeowners who live in the community can "opt out" to have their cars automatically removed.
"All of the neighbors are registered so they can eliminate license plates numbers just by that," said O'Rourke.
Denver police say readers can help solve crime
Denver police patrol division chief Ron Thomas said DPD already has its own license plate readers on patrol cars and one that is installed at 6th Ave. and Federal Blvd.
"Our perspective, honestly, is that they're helpful," said Thomas. "Seventy percent of all crimes are committed with the use of a vehicle."
To obtain any neighborhood's footage, Thomas said the HOA or private owner would have to give police permission to browse through the data.
"We're all about keeping neighborhoods safe and keeping the community safe," he said.