A new technology that can read license plates can also determine whether your driver’s license is valid in Sebastian. These plate readers are everywhere you drive now in Indian River County, they are known as Flock cameras.
Installed by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, they have cut crime by reading plate numbers of potentially stolen vehicles entering Sebastian or Vero Beach from Interstate 95.
A recent incident occurred when deputies were looking for a car involved in a burglary in Vero Beach. They turned to the Flock camera system and located the vehicle in Sebastian, leading to an arrest.
Another case involved a stolen U-Haul when it entered Sebastian from I-95. Deputies tracked the rental to Tractor Supply, where the occupants were trying to use counterfeit bills to purchase merchandise.
The Flock camera technology is the same ones used in police cruisers. It knows if your plate is valid or expired and if the vehicle’s owner has a suspended or revoked driver’s license.
If you’re caught driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license, chances are, you’re going to jail. That happened earlier this week when a Vero Beach man drove into Sebastian.
This time, it wasn’t the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office but the Sebastian Police Department who received a notification from “Flock Hitlist” tools.
The notification informed an officer that the owner of a vehicle had an “invalid driver’s license” and was traveling north on U.S. Highway 1 towards the City of Sebastian.
The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Peter Moor, who told the officer he did not have a driver’s license.
Moor, 67, was on his way to a scheduled dentist appointment and said he knew his license was suspended. He was arrested and transported to the Indian River County Jail.
Cases like these are happening more because of this new technology. Some residents argue it’s an invasion of privacy, but others say they appreciate the extra help fighting crime and recovering stolen vehicles.
These incidents are all serious to law enforcement. So, if you’re license is invalid, it’s better not to drive and schedule a ride because there’s a good chance you’ll be caught.
About 70% of crimes involve a vehicle, according to Flock Safety. The goal is to clear cases and decrease crime rates. Flock cameras are in use in over 3,000 communities across the country.
The ACLU says the unregulated automatic license plate readers violate civil liberties.
“Flock is building a giant camera network that records people’s comings and goings across the nation and then makes that data available for search by any of its law enforcement customers. Such a system provides even small-town sheriffs access to a sweeping and powerful mass-surveillance tool, and allows big actors like federal agencies and large urban police departments to access the comings and goings of vehicles in even the smallest of towns. And every new customer that buys and installs the company’s cameras extends Flock’s network, contributing to the creation of a centralized mass surveillance system of Orwellian scope,” the ACLU said.
The ACLU recognizes that this technology is also used for Amber Alerts, toll collection, or to identify stolen vehicles. But they also argue that police do not need records of “every person’s coming and goings, including trips to the doctor’s offices, religious institutions, and political gatherings.”