LA CRESCENTA (CBSLA) — Newly installed security cameras are helping deputies at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station crack down on car thieves, but some say the technology is an invasion of privacy.
“Without those cameras, we likely would not have found these vehicles on our own,” Sgt. John Gilbert, with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said.
Sheriff’s deputies say since the cameras were installed just two months ago, they have been able to nab several suspected car thieves who could have gotten away.
In one instance, a suspect tried to break into a La Canada Flintridge home. Deputies got a plate number from the homeowner, and the Flock Safety security camera system notified detectives of the vehicle’s location and deputies were able to make the arrest.
“With this system, it’s running so many plates in the background, and then once it finds one that is reported stolen, it alerts us and gives us a location within 30 seconds,” Gilbert said. “So then we’re able to go out and search that general area and see if we can find the vehicle, so it’s a much more efficient way of finding people’s stolen vehicles.”
The cameras have automatic license plate recognition technology that can read the plates of passing cars both day and night. Plate information, combined with vehicle description, can help detectives track down a suspect.
And while some drivers who frequent the area believe the cameras are a great way to crack down on crime, others said they were a bit leery knowing that their license plate information goes into the system.
“I think it’s great,” Emily Azmavourian, a Glendale resident, said. “I think that there’s a lot of people that speed around here, there’s a lot of schools close by and whatever safety measures we can take is a good thing.”
“It feels a little bit invasive to me,” Laura Saeva, a La Canada Flintridge resident, said. “And, honestly, I’m just not sure that the juice is worth the squeeze as far as that goes.”
Detectives say the new technology can also pinpoint license plates that have a warrant or are wanted in connection with a crime.