VACAVILLE (CBS13) — Vacaville Police tracked down yet another stolen vehicle out of Stockton and made another arrest with the help of community cameras equipped with License Plate Recognition or LPR cameras.
Gary Elliott showed CBS13 how the cameras work. His homeowner’s association bought several recently that are now posted throughout his Vacaville neighborhood. They already lead Vacaville Police to two suspects in a stolen vehicle with stolen items and shaved keys to possibly steal more.
“It looked to me like they were potentially looking, casing the place to steal another care or something so. So not two weeks after we installed the cameras, they paid off,” said Elliott.
Attorney David Mastagni worries such technology is an invasion of privacy.
“[Someone could] use the information to go to your residence, trespass, vandalize, heckle and harass,” said Mastagni.
While in many cases the cameras are a partnership between an HOA and a local police department, CBS13 reached out to the company that sold them to Elliott’s HOA, Flock Safety, and discovered anyone can buy the cameras.
“I think by and large the reaction we’ve had from the community has been very positive,” said Elliott.
“It’s not right, it’s an invasion of privacy, an invasion of your right to travel under state and federal constitution and it’s wrong,” said Mastagni.
Vacaville Police credit their community partnerships with the cameras for leading to at least 40 arrests since February. Sgt. Adam Senf says they’re on track to triple arrests with the help of the cameras. A DMV spokesperson told CBS13 a citizen would have to have a reasonable explanation to get someone’s personal information by providing a license plate number to them.