Flock Cameras Not your chicken debate.
The city has started discussions on additional flock Cameras in the City limits in an effort to reduce crime in the city limits. So what exactly are flock cameras. Flock Cameras are license plate readers. Flock Cameras are produced by a Georgia based company considered to be one of the fastest growing in Atlanta today. Flock cameras are designed to record 30 days of pictures of a car and automatically create a searchable database that law enforcement can access to assist in solving crimes by identifying vehicles in the area. They also have the ability to notify 911 dispatch in the event a car matching the description of an Amber Alert or stolen vehicle as crossed in front of the camera. The company touts a claim that cameras reduce crime up to %70.
Consider recent incidents. When speaking with a business. He told a story about a stolen car that was wrecked outside on Broadway. Police were able to use surveillance videos from agape to help solve the accidents. They also stated that criminals behave differently when they know they are on camera.
Another recent incidents involving a semitruck driver who had run over a bicyclist on 47. The police were using surveillance from local businesses to try and identify the semi truck as the driver was unaware of the accident had occurred.
Flock cameras have solved numerous high profile crimes in other cities and have grown very popular in municipalities in Ohio. The city currently is contracting cameras as gate keepers for vehicles entering the city but would like to expand and add 10 more cameras to higher crime areas and business districts.
There have been privacy concerns brought about by the camera system. It is considered a slippery slope as to what law enforcement or the government may decide to do with such data in the future. Additionally the claim that it reduced crime by %70 is highly contested as there is no direct evidence linking the reduction in crime.
According to wired Magazine when interviewing experts and the Atlanta Police Department the results have not been very clear.
But experts say it’s not that simple, and that establishing a causal relationship between any given variable and fluctuating crime rates is no easy task. “I am not saying that the readers did not have an effect on crime—it is just that we cannot attribute any reduction in crime to the readers themselves,” says Alex Piquero, a professor of criminology at the University of Texas, Dallas.
Even police agree. “To make it very clear, we are not 100 percent positive that Flock cameras were the difference,” notes VanHoozer. “What we did see, though, is an incredible decrease in crime, starting when we put these cameras down there.”
There is a trial period for the Flock System Cameras and the city rents the cameras at a cost of $2000 dollars a month for each camera. The question for the community. Is the increase chances of fighting crime in Sidney worth the cost?