WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) – Drivers will see them along busy roads and placed strategically in certain intersections.
The Town of Wake Forest now has more than two dozen automatic license plate reading (ALPR) cameras to help solve and prevent crime. Wake Forest is one of 3,700 communities that are utilizing the Flock Safety system, including Durham, Raleigh, Fayetteville and Garner.
Bill Crabtree, the Public Affairs Director for the Town of Wake Forest, said the town has already seen huge success from the technology after activating the cameras on Sept. 28. Earlier this week, they finished installing all of the devices.
“The goal of the Wake Forest Police Department and law enforcement everywhere is to keep their community members safe. And of this is just another really effective way to use technology to accomplish that,” said Crabtree.
In the first 24 hours after activating the cameras, Crabtree said police were able to recover three stolen vehicles. Since then, they’ve not only been able to recover stolen cars, but also a firearm, a missing juvenile and individuals with outstanding warrants.
So how does it work?
“There’s a misperception among some people. They think it’s just constant video, everything you’re doing… that’s not it. These cameras are capturing license plates and they’re capturing vehicles only,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree said the majority of crimes typically involve a vehicle. After a tag number is put into a national crime database, the Flock Safety cameras can easily detect the vehicle if it passes around one of the devices. Once that tag is detected, the cameras capture an image of the license plate and vehicle and send an instant notification to law enforcement nearby. The technology does not have any facial recognition capabilities and deletes images every 30 days from the system.
Crabtree said the Wake Forest community has grown significantly—like many areas near the Triangle—the technology will help add an extra layer of protection. He said, “If we can identify those vehicles that are involved in those crimes, not only are you getting criminals off the road, but you’re also preventing them from doing future crimes.”
Town authorities said each ALPR camera costs around $3,500—Wake Forest currently has a two-year lease agreement with the company.