LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Litchfield Park officials are preparing to install 32 license plate readers at entrances into the community, which spans more than 3 square miles. The Flock Safety camera system will capture a vehicle's color, make and model and license plate as traffic enters and exits the community.
Interim City Manager Matthew Williams stressed Tuesday the cameras will not monitor speed or traffic signals, and the technology does not use facial recognition. Williams says the system will help the community maintain a "safe lifestyle."
"I can't think of a better place to live," says Litchfield Park resident Fred Bucina.
He says crime is low, and he hopes the license plate readers will help keep it that way.
"No major crime," says Bucina. "Petty, like someone stealing a bicycle or something like that."
Flock Safety will capture and store the data. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which the city contracted to provide law enforcement protection, will have access to the data to solve crimes.
"For that reason, it's good," says Litchfield Park resident Susana Graser. "But a lot of times, you do want to be a little bit in private."
Retired Mesa Police master police officer, Bill Richardson, has written about law enforcement matters. He says there must be a strict policy on who can access the data and what they can do with hit.
"Reporter can be tracked. Political adversaries can be tracked," says Richardson. "There's (sic) some serious concerns about Big Brother tracking people in the private sector. That's why I think the information should be collected by law enforcement, stored by law enforcement, and only available to law enforcement."
In an email, a spokesperson for Flock Safety told Arizona's Family the company does not share or sell the data to any third parties.
"Flock Safety is a public safety operating system that was founded in 2017 with a mission to eliminate nonviolent crime while protecting privacy," read the statement. "Footage is stored in a secured and encrypted cloud and automatically deleted every 30 days on a rolling basis."
The Tempe Police Department says it's been testing out the Flock Safety cameras over the last few months. A spokesperson says the pilot program has been "wildly successful" and claimed the technology has even helped the agency solve homicides, locate stolen vehicles and identify vehicles connected to other crimes.
Litchfield Park will pay $80,000 a year for the camera system. Williams says the license plate readers will go up within the next 60 days.
Full statement for Flock Safety can be read below.
Flock Safety is a public safety operating system that was founded in 2017 with a mission to eliminate non-violent crime while protecting privacy.
According to the FBI, there are about 7 million property crimes every year, and more than 80% do not get solved - police say it’s due to the lack of evidence. Since over 70% of all crimes involve a vehicle, Flock Safety built technology that takes a snapshot of objective, publicly available evidence: vehicles and license plates. And it works. We send 120 hot list alerts (stolen vehicles) every hour to law enforcement and have helped 15% to 64% reduction in crime in multiple cities across the country.
We understand the concerns with technology capturing this type of public information, and we built the technology to protect people and equitably promote public safety. Here’s how:
We focus on objective evidence: vehicles and license plates. We capture car features (make, model, color, license plate, state of the plate, and timestamp) and do not record any personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, or phone numbers.
We do not use facial recognition technology. This helps us more equitably provide evidence to police and removes subjectivity from the equation.
Customers completely own their data. Flock Safety doesn’t share or sell the data to any 3rd parties. This is about giving people the tools to give police better evidence in the event of a crime.
Footage is stored in a secured and encrypted cloud and automatically deleted every 30 days on a rolling basis. If you want to view footage from 31 days ago, you can’t because it has been deleted.
Flock Safety cameras take photos, and there is no live video feed. No one monitors the system and this is not used for the purposes of surveillance. Only investigating crimes that have happened and recovering stolen vehicles.
Flock Safety also does not work in any capacity for traffic enforcement, unpaid fines, or speeding violations nor do we work with any type of immigration services.
All authorized police users go through training and agencies have policies in place that allow for information to be vetted, verified, and auditable during and after usage in the event of a crime.