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Should College Campuses Install ALPRs to Stop School Crime?

By Josh Thomas



License plate recognition cameras are becoming increasingly popular, especially at university campuses. With this advanced technology, colleges and universities across the nation can now capture evidence on their campuses more efficiently, while keeping students and faculty safe in locations where crimes often occur.

College campus parking lots are known to be an especially popular location for criminal activity to take place, particularly those lots in remote locations because it’s less likely that the perpetrator will get caught. In fact, according to the Sonoma State University Daily Crime Log, 50 percent of campus crimes took place in a parking lot. Of that 50 percent, 62.5 percent of those crimes went unsolved because they lacked evidence to make an arrest.

Unfortunately, Sonoma State University is not the only college campus to see a significant amount of crime involving a vehicle. In fact, as much as 70% of crime logged in the study included some type of vehicle, and this is where license plate recognition cameras become a very powerful asset. That’s because automatic license plate readers are an additional layer of security that college campus police departments are beginning leverage to successfully manage the risks of crime, in a cost effect way, and while still protecting the privacy of the students and employees.

If you are considering installing automatic license plate readers on your college campus, here are three great reasons why all schools should have them.

Historical information at entrance points

One of the best value propositions for having an automatic license plate reader at all of the entrance and egress points for your campus is that in doing so you can gain a very thorough understanding of who is coming into and leaving your facility or school grounds.

In addition, by making a purchase with Flock Safety, and tying in your automated license plate reader with our data storage solution, you can gain historical information on who's coming and going over the past 30 days. The value of this is if you need to conduct an investigation of criminal activity you believe has taken place over a few weeks, rather than just a one-time occurrence, that's very much possible with a Flock Safety implementation.

In this instance, your detective or on-campus police department will be able to securely log into your Flock Safety account and go through the activity logs to determine if there are patterns in behavior or if specific vehicles involved in crime or casing activity over time. Also, this same approach can be used to break into the criminal’s targeting cycle and disrupt it by being able to predict when they’ll strike next, based on their past behavior.

An example of how this could take place is if your police department is receiving reports of suspicious activity or vehicles in a portion of your campus, and your detective logs into the Flock Safety activity logs corroborate this claim, they may be able to discover patterns in activity and link it to the events being reported. Enabling them to effectively stake out a location and time, knowing that the criminals will come back and catch them in the act. Preventing the crime from taking place or people from getting hurt, and without draining department resources.

Crime deterrence

Sometimes the simple act of placing a camera on your property and advertising that you have this capability is enough to prevent crime. Cameras, and especially automated license plate readers, are a fantastic deterrent because criminals know that there's a very good chance they will be tracked down as a result of committing crime in an area protected by Flock Safety cameras. It doesn't have to be the case where your police departments have to work overtime, because less crime will take place in areas where people know there is surveillance equipment being actively employed at all hours of the day and night, and with the capability of reporting license plate numbers to the authorities.

Safety without compromising privacy

Flock Safety cameras do an amazing job at both; helping your on-campus police departments solve crime, as well as prevent crimes from happening in the first place. Because would-be wrongdoers know they'll be caught. However, the amazing thing about a Flock Safety camera is that you'll get these capabilities without compromising the privacy of your student body and faculty.

We put a tremendous amount of care and effort into ensuring that you can collect license plate information and vehicle information, while at the same time you’re also not violating any one’s right to privacy. Our automated license plate readers intentionally don't track people and they can be configured in a way as to intentionally not track certain license plate numbers or vehicles depending on whatever your special circumstances are or unique situation you find yourself.

So, if you need to only track a certain type of vehicle, or not track a certain type of vehicle, that is absolutely possible with a Flock Safety camera. Additionally, if you only need to store the information for a certain number of days that's absolutely possible too, as is the ability you control who specifically can access the information collected by your cameras.

Flock Safety’s License plate readers

A License reader is a high-quality camera that can observe the license plate of a vehicle, even in the most adverse situations. Flock Safety’s license plate readers can capture data up to 75 ft away, as a vehicle moves at a speed of up to 75 mph. Flock Safety license plate readers can be installed anywhere. From traffic poles to gateway entrances and exits, and they can capture the necessary information police need to make an arrest.

At Flock Safety, it is our mission to eliminate non-violent crimes from college campuses and universities. When college campuses take the appropriate security measures crimes are solved, and with Flock Safety’s automatic license plate readers, you can ensure students and faculty are kept out of harm’s way. To learn more about Flock Safety and how our automatic license plate readers work, click here.


Originally published: 2020-03-06 14:50:57