HEMET (CNS) – Nearly two dozen mini-cameras situated at intersections and other locations throughout Hemet are aiding police in their crime-fighting mission, authorities said.
According to Hemet Police Department Officer Cheyne Nicot, thanks to a partnership between the city and Atlanta-based Flock Safety, 20 license plate reader cameras were acquired and strategically placed at a variety of places in early June.
“Since the Flock cameras went live here in Hemet, the police department has been able to safely recover 24 stolen cars and make over 20 arrests,” Nicot said.
“Hemet police investigators were also able to solve an armed robbery case, a recent carjacking and seize a cache of fireworks worth over $500 in this short period of time.”
Hemet Police Department Chief Eddie Pust said the cameras marry “breaking technology with good old-fashioned police work.”
“We are looking forward to closing more cases and putting more criminals behind bars with the help of these cameras,” Pust said.
“The ultimate goal is for criminals in Hemet to realize their chances of being caught have now gone way up. They should really reconsider committing a crime in Hemet because it will likely land them in jail.”
According to Nicot, the cameras transmit recordings directly to the Cloud, where data is stored for 30 days and then automatically deleted to satisfy privacy concerns.
Organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Southern California ACLU have filed inquiries, complaints and lawsuits regarding license plate reader cameras used in other Southern California communities in the past and have been critical of how the data collected are used by departments and how it is shared with other government agencies.
The devices, which cost $2,000 each, have also been put to use in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco, authorities said.
“We believe everyone has the right to public safety,” Flock Safety CEO Garrett Langley said. “Our mission is to eliminate crime and we’re proud to work with the city of Hemet to make the area even safer.”
The city tapped Measure U public safety funds to purchase the cameras, which will be serviced under a two-year agreement with Flock Safety, according to Nicot.
Jeff Pack contributed to this report.