UNION COUNTY, N.C. — The Union County Sheriff’s Office is using new camera technology to solve crimes.
Several neighborhoods in the county have installed Flock Safety cameras, which can capture license plates and vehicle characteristics.
According to a news release, Flock Safety ALPR cameras help law enforcement investigate crime by providing objective evidence that can be transformed into actionable leads.
UCSO said the cameras recently picked up a hit, leading deputies assigned to Baker Squad Patrol to a neighborhood where they received a notification a stolen vehicle had entered the area.
A Flock Safety camera was installed in the neighborhood and funded by the local HOA, according to UCSO.
When deputies arrived in the neighborhood, they located a stolen 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe with a stolen Tennessee license plate. Deputies arrested 18-year-old Neishalis Santos and 20-year-old Jordan Correa on charges of felony possession of stolen motor vehicles and misdemeanor possession of stolen goods.
UCSO credits the Flock Safety camera for providing the alert that led police to the neighborhood and the stolen vehicle.
“While traditional videos, security cameras can be useful, while neighborhood gates can be useful, a license plate reader is the most likely thing that can get a detective the actual lead that they need to go and solve a case,” said Holly Beilin with Flock Safety.
Flock Safety cameras installed by neighborhoods have led UCSO deputies to make arrests in three separate stolen vehicle cases in the last two years.
In June, Union County deputies were alerted to a stolen car in the Meriwether neighborhood, leading to the arrest of a 17-year-old.
According to a release from Flock Safety, to proactively prevent crime from occurring, the cameras will send a real-time alert to law enforcement when a stolen car or known wanted felony suspect vehicle from a state or national crime database enters the jurisdiction. They can also send real-time alerts if a vehicle associated with a missing person in an AMBER or Silver Alert is detected.
Beilin said the technology can also be used to narrow the search for a certain vehicle by filtering the car color, make, type, and the time of a crime.
“The Flock Cameras, they don’t have facial recognition,” Beilin said. “They’re not looking at the people in the vehicles. We can’t sort by gender or race or anything else. It’s based purely on the license plate and those vehicle details.”
Beilin said the company is growing and hopes to continue installing more cameras over the next three years to help law enforcement solve 25% of crime in America.