May 31, 2022

Purdue University Police installing license plate reading cameras to help solve crime

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Police Department has announced that it will install six automated license plate reading (ALPR) cameras in strategic areas around the Purdue campus to help solve crime. The cameras are built by Flock Safety, a public safety technology company that helps neighborhoods, communities, and law enforcement work together to fight crime.

Flock Safety ALPR cameras help law enforcement investigate crime by providing objective evidence. They capture license plates and vehicle characteristics, not people or faces. To proactively prevent crime from occurring on Purdue’s campus and the surrounding area, the cameras send a real-time alert to law enforcement when a license plate comes back associated with crimes, including stolen vehicles and persons wanted on warrant when those persons are entered in state crime databases or national databases like NCIC. They can also send alerts if a vehicle is associated with a missing person from an AMBER or Silver Alert.

The Purdue Police Department will maintain an updated policy around usage of the ALPR system. Each search requires a justification, and the data is never sold or shared with third parties. The cameras are another tool that can help reduce property and crimes against persons.

“Incidents involving students being shot by Splat or BB or airsoft guns this past spring semester were difficult to investigate,” PUPD chief John Cox said. “We often had video from our campuswide digital video system to give us basic vehicle information, but no license plate information could be obtained. The Flock system will allow us to search for vehicles based on a video and victim description and obtain a license plate number to use to continue the investigation.”

PUPD signed a one-year contract to test the Flock system.  It joins the Lafayette and West Lafayette police departments as agencies that have Flock cameras deployed or are in the process of deploying them.  

About Flock Safety

Flock Safety is a public safety operating system that helps communities and law enforcement in 1,500-plus cities work together to fight crime, protect privacy and mitigate bias. Flock builds devices that capture objective evidence and use machine learning to create unbiased investigative leads to law enforcement. Its proprietary devices and cloud-based software can reduce crime by up to 70%. See www.flocksafety.com for more information.

Media contact: Jim Bush, jsbush@purdue.edu

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