AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – More than two years ago the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office partnered with a company to help investigate and solve crimes with hidden cameras.
Now, the two are touting success that includes solving homicides and it’s all because someone has a bird’s eye view of license plates on the road.
Two homicides. Two armed robberies. Solved. And more than a half a million dollars in stolen vehicles, recovered. Richmond County Sheriff’s Office invested in Flock Safety Cameras recently and they say it’s working.
That was about 30 stolen vehicles. That was about 30 individuals who were so incredibly stressed, so incredibly anxious, felt so incredibly violated,” Holly Beilin, a Flock Safety representative said of the 28 arrests in Richmond County for recovered stolen vehicles.
You can’t see them, but they are working to keep you safe. Flock Safety Cameras went up in neighborhoods in the past two years and now, 51 of them sit in high crime, undisclosed hot spots.
“[If there were a] particular crime that occurred in an area and they were on foot or on a bicycle, you would be able to filter that,” said Patrick Clayton, Chief Deputy, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
The cameras run the sheriff’s office $2,500 each, annually. And while they can catch a bad guy utilizing how he or she moves, the makers of the product said they are not in the business of violating privacy. But the cameras are designed to read license plates to aid in catching criminals and preventing wrongdoers in the future.
Beilin added, “Majority of crime is actually committed by a minority of offenders. We know that when someone steals a vehicle, they might also be using that vehicle to commit a robbery or a different crime.”
Additionally, Clayton said Flock cameras helped solve a number of other felonies such as aggravated and sexual assaults and hit and runs. It’s the eyes needed during economically hard times when there’s not enough deputies on the street.
He added, “In 2016, we had to, in order to get the proper raise for our deputies at the time, we had to defund 30 positions.”
The commission approved $300,000 last week for more flock cameras. Chief Clayton said the public can expect 112 of them to go up in by the beginning of the year, bringing the total number of Flock Safety Cameras in town to 163.