AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has a new way to track down criminals.
When a burglar entered a Summerville church to take items, she knew exactly what she was doing. What she did not know was she was being watched.
“Soon as I found out about it, they sent me the video footage, which was very clear of a white Toyota van. Very clear of the female subject,” said David Dunagan, who works on the Public Safety Committee for Summerville Neighborhood Association.
After the woman was spotted on camera breaking into First Southern Methodist Church on Johns Road, Dunagan said he sprung into action.
“Knowing that we had a camera close by, I put that information into our system. Within minutes, I had a positive hit, able to link that van to its owner who happen to be in Pennsylvania,” Dunagan told NewsChannel 6.
He added the association signed on to Flock Safety, a public safety operating system utilizing cameras in communities to reduce crime.
“What we built was kind of a cost effective way to capture license plates,” said Garrett Langley, Flock Safety CEO & Founder after there was crime in his own neighborhood.
The cameras, which operate on motion sensors, discreetly went up in Summerville at the start of the year. Dunagan said they help cut back on petty crimes.
“Entering autos. Typically, all of those are unlocked. We have package thefts, but we certainly have a low crime rate. But we take it seriously.”
Dunagan will not disclose the location of the cameras in Summerville, so criminals don’t have the upper hand. Richmond County Sheriff’s Office won’t either. The agency is also working with Flock Safety and has already made numerous arrests.
Lt. Dan Carrier, who works in the Property Crimes Division for the sheriff’s office spoke with NewsChannel 6 too. He said, “If we have a shooting in an area and we know the suspect left in a black SUV, I can go search that time frame between the time that it happened and look for a black SUV. It will pull up every black SUV that went by that camera during that time frame.”
Lt. Carrier said Richmond County has been able to catch stolen vehicle suspects, track missing persons and develop leads to other cases.