League City southeast of Houston is expanding its network of automated cameras that can read the license plates of passing vehicles to help reduce crime and protect residents.
Earlier this month, city council members approved a five-year agreement with Flock Safety, an Atlanta-based company that produces Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras.
ALPR cameras read license plates and document the location, date and time of the recording. They can then notify law enforcement if footage of a vehicle that has been reported stolen is recorded. The cameras can recognize state of origin, vehicle color, type and model, plus objects such as roof racks or bumper stickers based on image analytics. They can also distinguish when a vehicle is using a paper license plate or is missing one.
The camera network utilizes an integrated software and hardware platform to save, categorize and store footage in the cloud. Detectives can use this information during a criminal investigation.
Cameras are completely wireless and powered solely by solar energy. In addition to tracking vehicles, the cameras use motion capture to start and stop recordings and track additional modes of transportation such as bicycles, ATVs and motorcycles. The platform also allows single cameras to capture multiple traffic lanes simultaneously and process up to 30,000 vehicles per day.
The city’s existing two-year agreement with Flock Safety leased 42 cameras that were installed on major roadways to deter crime. The new agreement includes 20 additional arterial cameras at intersections and eight cameras for five city parks. The exact locations of the roadway cameras will not be publicly released.
Photo by Mike Katz-Lacabe courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.