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Warner Robins police say license plate-reading Flock cameras solving crimes

As a direct result of Flock cameras, Gossman said, they've arrested 10 people for "theft by receiving stolen vehicles."

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Warner Robins police say their new license plate reading cameras are helping keep Houston County safer.

Since March, they've helped solve dozens of crimes.

The Warner Robins Police Department hasn't been using this new, technology for very long, but they say it's already helping them solve several different types of crimes.

Over the past seven months, Warner Robins Lieutenant Eric Gossman says they've solved about 25 crimes.

The crimes: Theft of stolen property, aggravated assaults, narcotics violations, and traffic violations, like expired tags.

"It feels great that we are actually moving forward in solving crimes and hopefully stop future crimes from happening," Gossman said.

As a direct result of Flock cameras, Gossman said, they've arrested 10 people for "theft by receiving stolen vehicles."

He could not say how many others were arrested during "other crimes using Flock cameras."

Gossman says they started using 10 Flock cameras in March.

Those 10 don't move.

"They don't hold data permanently. They are short-term lead generators and that's it," Gossman said.

Then in August, Gossman says they got more grant money.

For the past month, they've had five new cameras that are moved to spots around the city.

"50 years ago, officers rode two people per car. Now, we have one person in the car. He's got his radio, computer. He's got all kinds of tools and technology. This is just another one of those tools in the toolbox," Gossman said.

Five more cameras are coming next year.

Ray Turner says "it's OK" if they don't abuse it.

"If there is a way to find out people that are stealing cars, I agree with that, as long as it's not intrusive," Turner said.

Braden Benedict agrees with Turner.

"If they want to run my plate. I have nothing to hide, because you run somebody's plates, it could be a stolen vehicle or no insurance," Benedict said.

"It's not just law enforcement using it. It's other places as well, apartment complexes that have problem with entering auto, they do this as well, so it's not just law enforcement. There are people out there that are committing crime against others and nobody wants to be a victim. It's to help solve crimes and prevent crimes," Gossman said.

Gossman says next year, they have the option on whether to renew their camera system contract.

All 20 cameras were funded by a grant and cost about $57,000 in all.    

If they do renew the Flock camera contract, Gossman says they would pay for the cameras out of their budget.

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