Northport Police Add License Plate-Reading Cameras to Neighborhoods
The Northport Police Department has purchased two Flock Safety security cameras that will read license plates in several neighborhoods in an effort to reduce crime in the city.
The technology has already been in use in at least two Northport subdivisions for the past year after local home owner's associations installed them. The cameras capture license plate numbers at a high resolution and indicate the make and model of the vehicle when they pass that location.
NPD's new purchases will allow them access to both new and existing cameras to assist officers in solving crimes, including identifying stolen cars.
"As of right now, it's primarily an investigative tool," said Northport's Assistant Chief of Police Keith Carpenter. "If it's seen to produce results, we'd look at adding more cameras in different areas that would produce more information."
Each camera costs the city approximately $2,000 per year to operate. Although it will take some time to see any significant results, Carpenter hopes to build a strong network between Northport HOAs and the police department.
Flock Safety cameras have already seen success in Atlanta and Birmingham markets, Carpenter said.
"Hopefully, with the addition of more cameras, it'll give us the chance to be more proactive and produce better results in our investigations," said Carpenter.
Carpenter said the use of the cameras should not raise any safety concerns, as they only capture plate numbers, not people's faces. Flock Safety's website also promises that all footage is private to the neighborhoods or departments that purchase them, and will not be sold or shared by Flock Safety.