Friday, January 31, 2020
Dunwoody Police begin “Silent Partners” program
The Dunwoody Police Department is introducing “Silent Partners,” a new community initiative designed to fight crime with new technology.
Dunwoody Police begin “Silent Partners” program
“Silent Partners” will bring together police, businesses and residents to make Dunwoody safer together with new crime-fighting technology.
Dunwoody, GA – January 31, 2020 – The Dunwoody Police Department is introducing “Silent Partners,” a new community initiative designed to fight crime with new technology. Using a network of security cameras and license plate readers (LPRs), the department will partner with residents and business owners to share and stream video footage that may assist in solving and preventing crime. Visit http://www.dunwoodyga.gov/silentpartners for more information and to register.
“We’ve developed a secure mapping system called the Silent Partners Portal that makes it easy to join by registering your camera or LPR,” said Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan. “It’s important to note that by joining, you don’t lose any privacy rights. Participation does not provide our department with direct access to private video footage but rather identifies where potential footage might be. This allows us to leverage technology and work as a team.”
Silent Partners is confidential and completely voluntary. For security cameras, the portal only provides the location of registered cameras. If a crime occurs near a camera listed on the map, investigators may request video footage from a specific time period to look for suspicious cars, people or other evidence. Cooperation with any request is voluntary. Only law enforcement personnel have access to the portal. Here’s a video explaining the Silent Partners Program.
“In the past, we would have to canvas an area and go door-to-door to look for surveillance video that might help solve a case,” Chief Grogan explained. “Silent Partners streamlines the process by providing the location of cameras. We still have to ask for and receive permission before accessing the data.”
LPRs are another important part of the Silent Partners program. The Dunwoody Police Department already uses about 20 fixed LPRs in high-traffic areas to capture images of license plates and to identify stolen vehicles, stolen tags and wanted suspects. Several businesses, apartment complexes and neighborhood groups have recently installed their own LPRs to help reduce crime.
Registration is free. Any information gathered through these partnerships is for official investigative use only.
LPRs work in two ways:
1. Police can connect with them directly and receive real-time alerts when a license plate is associated with a stolen vehicle or wanted person. This allows officers to respond right away and possibly prevent a crime.
2. LPRs are also an important investigative tool. If detectives are working to solve a crime, they can go back and review previously captured license plate numbers in a particular area around a particular time.
Residents and businesses can become Silent Partners by registering their security cameras through the new portal. They can also register community LPRs if they already have one, or consider investing in one. Flock Safety and Vigilant Solutions are two popular LPR providers. Pricing usually starts around $2,000 a year. Georgia Power Lighting Services also offers a program called SiteView: http://www.georgiapower.com/Siteview
“We’re looking forward to working with the community to build up this program,” Chief Grogan added. “This takes community policing to a new and important level.”
Here are two examples of crimes solved using LPRs:
1. On June 12, 2019, three suspects used a stolen pickup truck to smash the doors of a Dunwoody CVS to try to steal an ATM. A second vehicle, which appeared to be a black Nissan NV cargo van, backed up to the business and the suspects fled. The van’s tag was not readable on the store surveillance video. During the investigation, Dunwoody Police detectives checked a Flock LPR that was deployed in the area of the burglary and found that a van matching the suspect vehicle passed by about 10 minutes after the crime. Through further investigation, detectives determined the registered owner of the van was involved in the burglary of the CVS that night. He was also connected to an additional nine burglaries in Americus, Georgia, where pharmacies were targeted.
2.On July 4, 2019, Dunwoody Police responded to a neighborhood where two residents woke up to find that someone had rummaged through their vehicles overnight and stolen some small items. The neighborhood had recently installed a Flock LPR. Investigators were able to use the LPR to review vehicular traffic that night, and they identified a vehicle associated with an individual who had been arrested previously by Dunwoody Police for the crime of entering auto. After additional investigation, Dunwoody Police arrested and charged that individual with two new counts of entering auto.
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For media requests, please contact Sgt. Robert Parsons, Dunwoody Police Public Information Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 678-382-6909. For information about the City of Dunwoody, contact Jennifer Boettcher, Communications Director, email@example.com, 470-382-6881.
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