License Plate Surveillance Expands to Escondido Neighborhood


An advanced surveillance system is expanding in San Diego County, with its latest home in the Kent Ranch neighborhood of Escondido.

The system, Flock Safety, uses cameras atop light poles to collect images and data from the license plates of cars driving by, including plate number, vehicle type, color, and the time the information was captured.

Seven San Diego neighborhoods already have the Flock surveillance system in place, which automatically sends the information it collects to specific authorized computers or cell phones.

In Kent Ranch’s case, only five HOA board members have access to their neighborhood’s Flock data.

Some San Diegans told NBC 7 they like the extra security near their homes, like Francisco Sanchez, a 7-year resident of Kent Ranch.

“If it makes the neighborhood safer, then that’s pretty cool,” Sanchez said.

Others saw the cameras as an invasion of privacy. Flock Safety is working to ease residents’ potential concerns.

“We don’t even have access to it…and you decide who has access,” Josh Thomas, Head of Marketing at Flock Safety explained.

Currently, Escondido Police Department is the only department in the county to have a written agreement with Flock Safety.

San Diego Police Department does work with Flock Safety to record some surveillance across San Diego County, but Flock Safety said it does not contract with the Department of Homeland Security or ICE at this time.

A representative for the company told NBC 7 the images and information are permanently deleted after 30 days.

Kent Ranch’s homeowners association bought eight Flock Safety cameras for a total of $16,000, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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