Gwinnett County

Gwinnett officials hope more cameras will catch more criminals

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County is set to install nearly 100 new license plate readers in an effort to catch everyone from car thieves to murder suspects.

Nearly 800 Flock cameras can be found across Gwinnett County. Channel 2′s Matt Johnson has learned that the county has set aside federal dollars to add 97 more cameras in “high crime” areas across the city.

County Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson says the county will use just under $280,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay for the cameras.

“They have been extremely effective,” she said.

Hendrickson says she’d like to see some cameras installed at hotel parking lots, where car thefts can occur.

“If you’re going to commit crimes in these areas, and in these hotels, and in the parking lots, you’re going to get caught,” she said.

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Last October, Gwinnett County police used Flock cameras to find the two people they arrested for the murder of Elijah DeWitt at Sugarloaf Mills Mall.

“Making change helps us know that our child is forever remembered,” said Dawn DeWitt, Elijah’s mother.

The DeWitt family is helping to fund additional license plate readers in their city of Jefferson.

Some privacy advocates say license plate readers are not worth the invasion of privacy and that research does not support the claim that their presence reduces crime.

“It collects data from every person who drives by a Flock camera,” said Jake Weiner with Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It’s surveilling you as much as it’s surveilling a mass murderer, as much as it’s surveilling a shoplifter.”


Gwinnett police say they’ve recovered 585 stolen cars since 2020 using Flock cameras. Police also say they’ve made 526 arrests of wanted individuals with the help of the cameras.

It’s why the DeWitt family is focused on using the Elijah DeWitt Foundation, in part, to get more cameras installed in communities.

“They’re there to not stop all crimes,” said Craig DeWitt, Elijah’s father, “but [they can] prevent the ones like what we had have had to go through.”

Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure told the board last week that most of the cameras are in the central area of Gwinnett County and additional cameras would be placed in other parts of the county.

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