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The Role Cameras Can Play During A Statewide Crisis

How this department solved crime while not compromising social distancing needs.

By Josh Miller

A string of robberies happened in an Atlanta community. There was a lot of evidence linking suspects to the crime, but the details were scarce. The only thing officers knew was that a female getaway driver was involved. Luckily for them, they had a Flock Safety license plate reading camera perched at a nearby shopping center.

Why Are License Plate Readers So Important

Less than a decade ago, police officers would need to pull grainy footage from often unreliable surveillance cameras located near the scene of the crime (when available). They would hope an eyewitness would come forward to offer up a small shred of evidence linking the crime to a suspect(s). This normally required ample amounts of face to face interactions, knocking on doors, and spending a lot of energy visiting multiple locations - sometimes resulting in very little information. Time is never a luxury when action needs to be taken quickly and in most cases, sustainable evidence can be lost after 48 hours have passed. That means investigators have to move swiftly, but with license plate readers footage, officers can instantly get the evidence they need to investigate crimes.

LPRs Allow For Versatility When Investigating Crime

Fortunately for this Atlanta police department, they had the technology needed to capture actionable evidence that would lead to arrests related to the string of robberies. And in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis, officers limiting their exposure to people didn’t slow them down or stop them from solving the case. License plate reading technology kept both officers and citizens at a safe distance despite the necessary investigation for these destructive crimes.

Extra Officer On The Force

The turning point in the case occurred when oAJCne of the suspects went to a local shopping center and used a stolen credit card that crime analysts were watching for activity.This enabled the crime analyst to track down a timeframe and location of the suspects to a local shopping center. Thankfully, a Flock Safety fixed license plate reading camera was located at the scene. Detectives used estimated time of the crime to analyze potential getaway vehicles exiting the shopping center. With a list of multiple vehicles, officers were able to cross-reference the additional robberies that recently took place to find any overlap in vehicle activity. In what could have taken days to collect the information on who was around the area at the time of the crimes, police identified one vehicle as the suspected getaway driver and known accomplices. From there, officers were able to make the arrests and the case is pending close. 

The Perfect Tool For Solving Crime

License plate readers with advanced machine learning technology can see like a detective on the force, one who works 24/7 with no holidays and in rain or shine. As of today, more and more agencies are having to be more cautious and thoughtful about the way that they go about handling crimes with COVID-19 spreading across the country. Having technology like Flock Safety’s license plate reading camera system proves to be a force multiplier when manpower is limited or at risk, and helps deliver on the mission to solve crime and keep communities safe.

Have a good tip to share with agencies on how to effectively connect and engage their community? Let me know at joshua.miller@flocksafety.com, we’re always looking for ways to better enable our police customers and keep their cities safe.

Originally published: 2020-03-20 19:19:17