VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) – A license plate reader helps solve crimes not only in Valdosta, but across the country.
In the community of Arbor Run, the Flock security camera system protects more than 180 homes and their residents.
It’s a one-way, one-way community.
The automated license plate reader captures license plate information and the full description of each incoming car.
Across the country, he has helped reduce crime and solve cases including kidnappings, murders, robberies and more.
In Valdosta, he recently helped the Valdosta Police Department solve a shootout.
John Swiderski has lived in the area for years and is a member of the Arbor Run Owners Association.
Swiderski said that since installing the system, this is the only incident they have had in the past three years.
âWe had an incident where a car with several people on board entered the housing estate. They weren’t residents and apparently they had a fight. They might have known someone here, but I don’t know. A gun was fired and one of the people was injured and of course the police opened the investigation, âSwiderski said.
Swiderski said the investigation led to a description of the car but no license plate.
The police had access to the system. A match was found and the matter was resolved.
Swiderksi said the neighborhood is a quiet and peaceful place to live, but there was once some concern. Before the camera system, the neighborhood had home invasion crimes. The owners’ association decided to invest in a security system.
Flock Safety is self-contained, solar powered and internet is not required.
The association pays $ 2,000 per year for the service.
What about privacy?
For some, license plate readers can be an invasion of privacy and for others it is a positive outlook and a crucial tool to help fight crime.
In County Lowndes, a few towns use it, but they are in undisclosed areas for security reasons.
Swiderski said it not only helps solve crimes, but it also prevents them.
âThis is an important key to law enforcement. If they see a car that has only come once or twice, they focus on that, âSwiderski said.
Swiderski said the system is âhands offâ for them. The information is not reviewed and is simply given to the police when needed.
âThere have been concerns. I know all over the county about privacy intrusions and things like that. We have chosen with our camera system to restrict it only to the police authorities, âsaid Swiderski.
Images are only kept for 30 days.
Swiderski said if they had had this system in the past, other crimes in the area may have been solved.
A resident told WALB News 10 that he liked having the security camera there.
Flock Safety also assists with Amber alerts and has been instrumental in the recovery of kidnapped victims.
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