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How Greensboro police plan to use safety cameras installed around city

The city said it plans to put ten cameras on streets like Spring Garden, Market and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The goal is to cut down crime.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Greensboro City Council voted Tuesday to move forward with a project that will bring safety cameras to Greensboro.

The police department said it's part of an effort to cut down on crime.

Police Chief Brian James came up with the idea when he took over the department early last year as part of his strategic plan for the department.

The city plans to install 10 of them on streets like Spring Garden, Market and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The locations were chosen by the police department based on crime data. Here's a list of those approximate locations:

  • Spring Garden Street near South Josephine Boyd Street
  • Spring Garden Street near South Chapman Street
  • East Market Street near Shaw Street
  • East Market Street near North English Street
  • Martin Luther King Jr Drive near Andrew Street
  • Martin Luther King Jr Drive near Dorothy Brown Street
  • Isler Street between Cedar Fork Drive and Veasley Street
  • Veasley Street near Gate City Boulevard

"The locations are where have had more frequency of crimes and incidents. We also had to make sure the placing of the cameras was going to yield the best results as it relates to stopping the violent crime that we see," Trey Davis said.

Davis is an Assistant City Manager for the City of Greensboro.

These cameras will not be traditional surveillance cameras. Driving by, you would probably be more likely to notice the solar panel which powers it. These cameras will actually be monitoring license plates.

The cameras only capture still pictures to get a clear view of license plates. Greensboro Police said they will not be used to ticket people for expired plates or speeding.

Flock said about two dozen law enforcement agencies and 50 Homeowner Associations use their cameras in North Carolina.

The company said it has cameras in about 1,400 cities nationwide. According to their statistics, Flock said its seen success in cities like Dayton, Ohio. Crime went down 43 percent in the one neighborhood where the cameras were installed. It also said several cities saw more than a million dollars worth of stolen vehicles recovered.

The City of Greensboro previously approved an agreement with Atlanta-based company Flock to bring the cameras here. Tuesday's vote allows the city's transportation department to begin approving the locations.

Officers would be able to use the company's computer system which, according to Flock's website, allows investigators to search for things like a car's color, make and model in addition to the plate.

Flock said its cameras can capture cars traveling up to 100 miles an hour and up to 75 feet away, at any time of day.

According to GPD's strategic plan, police hope these cameras will improve investigative leads. The department also plans to monitor how many stolen vehicles or wanted suspects are successfully identified using this technology, once it's in place.

There are some who oppose the use of these kinds of cameras. The American Civil Liberties Union believes they create privacy concerns because they collect so much data.

Flock said the cameras will cost the city about $27,500 dollars in their first year. Every subsequent year the city will pay $27,000 per year to keep them up.

Police will work with city transportation officials to approve the proposed camera locations. GPD said they hope to have the cameras installed by the end of the year.