Technology deployed in battle against crime at Warren Manor

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published September 8, 2021

 Flock Safety, the maker of the automated license plate reading cameras recently installed at Warren Manor, near Nine Mile and Dequindre roads, cites statistics indicating that seven in 10 crimes are committed while using a vehicle.

Flock Safety, the maker of the automated license plate reading cameras recently installed at Warren Manor, near Nine Mile and Dequindre roads, cites statistics indicating that seven in 10 crimes are committed while using a vehicle.

Photo by Brian Louwers

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WARREN — Earlier this year, after the latest episode in a string of violent incidents, Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said that the Warren Manor apartment complex has been “a huge problem for decades.”

In response, the management sought high-tech tools to assist law enforcement in the fight against crime at the property. Technology so powerful it can read a license plate on a vehicle traveling 100 mph and allow administrators to sift through countless captured images to pinpoint specific investigative leads is now on the job at the complex, near Nine Mile and Dequindre roads.

Justin Whitney is the procurement director for ROCO Real Estate, the property management company for Warren Manor. He said Flock Safety automated license plate reading cameras were installed at the lone entrance and exit to the complex to augment the property’s video surveillance system.  

“I got involved shortly after those comments from the police chief and the Police Department,” Whitney said. “This was one of their interests. In addition to security cameras, they really wanted a way to know who was coming and who was going.”

A review of the available technology led Whitney to Flock. He said the cameras were installed and deployed about a month ago with the support of the company and Warren police.

“I’m extremely satisfied with the results so far, just in the 30 days,” Whitney said.

Holly Beilin, director of communications for Flock Safety, said the company’s ALPR cameras are “laser focused” on the details police need to solve crimes. The company cites statistics indicating that seven in 10 crimes are committed while using a vehicle. In addition to reading the license plate, the cameras capture and allow images to be searched by vehicle make and model, color, even accessories, like roof racks.   

“A lot of witness accounts tend to be inaccurate, incomplete and biased. The cool thing about the Flock system is there’s no bias involved,” Beilin said. “You can pick out the exact vehicle based on the details, home in on your time frame and get exactly the investigative leads that you need.”

Whitney said the technology was recently tapped for a police investigation into a breaking and entering complaint at Warren Manor.

“They had a color and a make of the car and needed to know if we could do a search for that,” Whitney said. “I was able to search for this car on the date they were looking for.”

While there were eight matching results, traditional surveillance footage and other investigative leads were used to narrow the search.

“The Flock cameras captured an image of the car and we were able to match that with the description and the plate. Once they ran it, it matched the suspect they were looking for,” Whitney said.

The system’s built-in data security includes cloud storage. The default “data retirement” period is 30 days, but images could be deleted more frequently, as required by law. All search requests are logged in the system, and they can never be deleted.

“In today’s day and age, you have to be concerned with both safety and privacy. We’re super conscious of that,” Beilin said. “We have put significant privacy features in place that take us light years beyond.

“You can’t do a search without putting in a justification. That’s just an added benefit, or an added guardrail,” Beilin said.

Searches of the Flock ALPR system at Warren Manor can only be done by property management currently, but police tasked with responding to and solving crimes in real time could soon have access. That’s something the company supports and recommends.  

Sofia Iglesias, president of ROCO Real Estate, said in a statement that the company’s “number one goal is to make Warren Manor a safe and clean environment not only for our residents but also for the community in general.”

Iglesias said management worked with the police to put together a comprehensive security plan that also includes criminal background checks to screen new tenants, in addition to the surveillance system and the ALPR cameras.

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