License plate cameras helping locate stolen vehicles, stop crime in Union County

The Union County Sheriff’s Office purchased 10 cameras that are placed throughout Indian Trail.
The camera system matches license plates with vehicles linked to crimes and then notifies law enforcement.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 7:44 PM EST
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INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (WBTV) - The Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) is purchasing license plate cameras to help find stolen vehicles and vehicles connected to criminal activity in Union County.

Lt. James Maye with the UCSO said the agency is purchasing 10 cameras that will be placed in different parts of Indian Trail.

Maye spoke to WBTV, explaining how the cameras work.

“It’s not going to show you a photo view of the driver or anything like that,” he said. “What it’s going to do is focus on that rear license plate of the vehicle.”

The lieutenant said the cameras are being purchased by a company named Flock Safety.

He said the image that is captured by the camera is just enough for law enforcement to be able to determine the make, model and license plate of the vehicle that photographed.

“If a person’s car is stolen, they have a police report filed, we enter it into NCIC which is a nationwide system for stolen articles to be entered and the Flock system is linked to that and immediately able to recognize ‘hey this is a stolen car, stolen truck, whatever’ and it sends that text notification, email notification to our investigators who then just pick up their radio and tell deputies to go to this area at this time and you’re looking for this vehicle and so within minutes we’ve got a deputy on-site,” Maye said.

He said the 10 cameras purchased by the sheriff’s office will be in different parts of Indian Trail.

“Indian Trail is probably our most densely populated area within Union County,” Maye said. “We do see an increased number of motor vehicle break-ins, larcenies from our big box stores, department stores in that area, so license plate readers in that area are greater utilized.”

The lieutenant also said that members of the public have supported the cameras being used by law enforcement.

“When people see these things go up and we highlight the fact that we’re not letting criminals run free in our county,” he said. “Like I said, we’re proactively enforcing the law and we’re using tools like this to do it.”

Holly Beilin, a spokesperson for Flock Safety, said the company has put robust safety measures in place to protect the data collected by the cameras.

“We’re deleting the data on a rolling basis every 30 days,” she said. “It’s hard deleted. Nobody can access it ever again, not even federal authorities. It is gone.”

Maye said the cameras have already helped law enforcement catch people responsible for crime in Union County. He said there is no exact timeline as to when the new cameras will be installed in Indian Trail.

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