DeKalb community installing 10 more license plate-reading cameras

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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By J.D. Capelouto
October 28, 2019

A DeKalb County business district is doubling the number of license plate-reading cameras that surveil the area’s streets.

The Tucker Summit Community Improvement District recently installed 10 of the solar-powered cameras made by the Atlanta-based company Flock Safety. The CID plans to put up 10 more before Thanksgiving, according to a statement.

The cameras automatically read and store the license plate number of any car that passes by. It also registers the car’s color, make and model. The devices, once a tool only used by law enforcement, have become increasingly utilized by private citizens and groups like the Tucker Summit CID. If one of the cameras spots a license plate listed as stolen or registered to a wanted suspect, DeKalb police get a notification.

That has prompted some privacy concerns from residents and experts alike who worry about possible over-surveillance and misuse of the license plate data.

The Flock cameras are solar-powered.
Photo: Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

But many say the Flock cameras, which each cost $2,000 per year, are a helpful security and crime-fighting tool. The Tucker Summit CID said one of its cameras recently read the license plate of a stolen vehicle near Stone Mountain Inn, prompting a notification to DeKalb police.

Officers were dispatched and apprehended the driver, who was not identified. He was charged with theft by receiving a motor vehicle, interference with government property, fleeing and attempting to elude police and possession of a handgun, according to the CID.

The Tucker Summit CID is a self-taxing district of businesses located around Mountain Industrial Boulevard between the cities of Tucker and Stone Mountain.