Gwinnett County

New license plate readers already getting results for one metro police department

HAPEVILLE, Ga. — One police department in metro Atlanta is adding more than two dozen license plate readers to cut crime.

Only about 6,000 people live in Hapeville. The city is sandwiched between the world's busiest airport, Interstate 75 and Interstate 85, which means thousands of extra drivers every day.

Police told Channel 2’s Alyssa Hyman that the plate readers will be a game changer for a community that is such a crossroads.

Detectives say they’ve already proven to be a major crime fighting tool.

Wednesday morning Hapeville police tracked down and arrested the driver andpassenger of a stolen vehicle, discovering two stolen guns inside the car.


A Flock Safety license plate reader flagged the car driving through the city right before it committed a slider crime.

“It alerted us, we put out a lookout for that particular vehicle,” said Hapeville Police Detective Stephen Cushing.

Cushing said the car was listed as stolen on a state database for wanted vehicles. The new license plate readers alert police when they detect a tag on the list.

“If it’s a stolen car, it alerts us. If it’s a stolen tag, it alerts us. If the driver is wanted, it alerts us,” Cushing said.

Since Christmas, Hapeville police have partnered with Atlanta-based Flock Safety,installing 27 license plate readers throughout the city.

“We've had several arrests made based on the alert for officers to be on the lookout,” Cushing said.

Late last year, Hyman did a story about Cobb County police teaming up with Flock for a pilot program and seeing some crime cut in half.

The technology started off as an affordable tool for neighborhoods.

Now, Flock says its being used by about 50 percent of law enforcement agencies in the metro area.

“Dunwoody works with Sandy Springs works with Cobb County; they can kind of create this broader network to help solve crime,” Cushing said.

With Hapeville connected to three major highways and so close to the airport, Cushing said this could help them to catch even more criminals and protect more people.

“I just can’t even imagine. It's been so successful in three weeks that I’m just not even sure how successful it’s going to be,” he said.

Cushing told Hyman that the cameras cost about $1,500 to lease, whereas the readers inside police cars cost closer to $20,000 and you have to buy them.