Surveillance Cameras Installed by Loomis Neighborhood Can Read License Plates

LOOMIS -- As home security cameras get better and more affordable, one Loomis neighborhood is hoping to use them to help fight crime.

Step one for investigating residential crimes these days involves looking for home surveillance cameras in the surrounding neighborhood, according to Sacramento Police Officer Karl Chan.

But even if security cameras catch a thief in the act, getting an identification or finding the crook is not a given.

"So, the police gets the face and still can't do anything,” said Hans Geyer, the Homeowners Association president for the Sierra de Montserrat neighborhood in Loomis.

Last year, Loomis homeowner cameras caught two break-ins in one as the thief stole the expensive security camera.

“But, of course, people don't have their name or their social security number tattooed onto their forehead,” Geyer said.

That’s why the association installed cameras by a company called Flock Safety.

Those entering and exiting the neighborhood are recorded by cameras on 14-foot poles.

The cameras’ license plate reading software is key to giving detectives crucial leads.

"If they could get us an actual license plate number for an investigation, absolutely would help us,” Officer Chan said.

It can also find types of suspect vehicles in seconds without the need for scrolling through hours of video.

The cameras can also pinpoint vehicle colors and residents' vehicles can be automatically eliminated from a search.

The system is not cheap at $2,000 per camera with two years of service. However, installing the Flock cameras was less expensive than many other security camera systems the Homeowners Association looked at.

The solar-powered system uses cell phone signals. No trenching or landlines are required.

And maintenance and repairs are part of the plan.

The company claims that its cameras solve one to two crimes a day nationwide.

The system has yet to catch its first crook in Loomis but peace of mind for homeowners is a commodity worth paying for.

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