The Lewisville Police Department has had so much success with its license plate reading cameras that it wants others to jump on board.
The department is encouraging apartment managers and business owners as it hopes to establish public-private partnerships with the program.
LPD recently partnered with Flock Safety, a company that makes cameras that can not only read license plates but also provide detailed information about vehicles that could be used to identify crime suspects.
LPD officials and representatives from Flock recently hosted a Zoom meeting to discuss the program and its benefits.
Lewisville Police Chief Kevin Deaver explained why Flock has worked for LPD.
“Most crimes involve a vehicle,” Deaver said. “So I started looking at license plate reading cameras.”
Deaver said he stumbled upon Flock.
“After their demo I was sold,” Deaver said. “I thought it would help us prevent crime and solve crime.”
Lewisville purchased 12 cameras in one of its highest crime areas. He said since April the department has seen an increase in the number of crimes that have been solved or the police have gotten suspect information on.
Deaver described one incident in which a camera in Lewisville helped police track down a vehicle theft suspect, which ultimately led to the arrest of another suspect when he met up with the first suspect.
Chase Ferguson, a sales consultant with Flock, described success the program has had in other parts of the country.
Ferguson provided one example in Atlanta when the license plate of a vehicle belonging to a theft suspect was captured on Flock, and the suspect was later arrested. Ferguson said the man had 34 warrants out for his arrest.
“He was able to be connected to hundreds of crimes all because this community had a Flock safety camera and were able to start solving crime,” Ferguson said. “We don't just want to watch crime, we want to solve it.”
Deaver said while Part I crimes, such as violent crimes, have gone down in Lewisville, Part II crimes, such as theft, burglary, etc., have steadily gone up.
“What we commonly see is people coming from other areas of the Metroplex to the suburbs or Lewisville to commit further crimes,” Deaver said.
He said the camera system helps reduce that.
Deaver said the department envisions a public-private partnership with the businesses and apartment complexes in the community.
“The more cameras we have out in our city, the more crime we will solve,” Deaver said.
Ferguson said the cameras require little infrastructure and can be installed anywhere. He said the data is stored in The Cloud.
The system provides information on the vehicle type and color, the license plate and the time frame of the incident. It picks up license plates or paper plates. He said the cameras use infrared technology to capture license plates at night. Ferguson said there is not facial recognition capabilities on the system.
Ferguson said the system keeps the data for 30 days.
Ferguson said there are options to filter searches, such as eliminating residents in neighborhood to focus on people who don't belong in the neighborhood.
Ferguson said HOA's or business owners have the option of emailing the images to police or allow the detective to be a user on the system to pull the necessary images.
“It can be as hands on or hands off the customer would like,” Ferguson said. “We understand as a property manager or an HOA board member your full-time gig is not sitting here pulling footage.”
The customer gets to decide who and how many people can have access to the system.
Ferguson said the cost for the system is $2,000 per camera per year with a two-year agreement. He said the cost includes installation, maintenance, software updates, ongoing support and footage storage and access.
Deaver said the partnerships would help take crime solving and prevention to the next level in Lewisville.
Deaver said the department is going to publish its partners on the LPD website.
“That lets the public know that you're in partnership with the police department,” Deaver said, adding that system signage from Flock comes with the program. “That makes the residents feel more safe and feel like it's a conducive environment to stay or live in.”
To participate in the program or for more information contact Sgt. Dickens at firstname.lastname@example.org.