Dunwoody starts surveillance ‘network’ of personal, police devices

Dunwoody police Lt. Patrick Krieg shows a license plate-reading device.

Credit: City of Dunwoody

Credit: City of Dunwoody

Dunwoody police Lt. Patrick Krieg shows a license plate-reading device.

The Dunwoody Police Department wants to create a “network” of surveillance cameras and license plate readers to help them solve crimes.

The program, called "Silent Partners," asks residents and businesses to register the locations of their security camera devices with the police department, which operates 20 of its own license plate readers, officials said in a statement. The technology automatically captures and stores the license plate of every car that drive by.

If a crime occurs in an area, Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said, the Silent Partners system will allow investigators to identify where security footage might have been obtained. Then, police may request video footage from those cameras.

“It’s important to note that by joining, you don’t lose any privacy rights,” Grogan said in a statement, adding that the program is confidential and voluntary. “This takes community policing to a new and important level.”

Traditionally, officers have gone door to door canvassing for surveillance video.

“Silent Partners streamlines the process by providing the location of cameras. We still have to ask for and receive permission before accessing the data,” Grogan said.

The license plate readers are discreet and solar-powered.

Credit: Casey Sykes

icon to expand image

Credit: Casey Sykes

In recent years, personal surveillance technology from companies like Ring and Nest has boomed in popularity, allowing residents the ability to access footage in real time. Neighborhoods have also begun investing in their own license plate readers, which can be accessed by residents and shared with the police.

Dunwoody police said license plate data has helped investigators solve some recent crimes, including a burglary at a CVS last June and a couple of car break-ins in July. City officials encouraged residents to purchase them from companies Flock Safety and Vigilant Solutions.

The police department has posted its own readers in popular areas to identify stolen vehicles, stolen tags and wanted suspects, officials said.

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