City of Belle Meade testing new traffic cameras to help fight crime

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

BELLE MEADE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The City of Belle Meade is testing real-time crime fighting cameras that could help police catch bad guys in real time.

The traffic cameras document every single license plate that enters and exits the city.

They work 24/7 and their job is to help police solve crimes of better handle real-time emergencies.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

Tom Sexton is an investigator for the City of Belle Meade.

He is currently evaluating two cameras at the intersection of Harding Pike, Hillwood Boulevard and Lynwood Terrace.

The cameras capture every single license plate that drives through the intersections and notifies police if the license plate is associated with an issue, such as a crime.

“In the event of an emergency, or we have a legit reason to view this in a set amount of time, we can go back and pull this up,” explained Sexton.

The cameras went live on Nov. 30 just minutes after a wreck occurred. Had the system been online at the time, it would have documented the crash and possibly helped aid the officers in their investigation.

“The only reason to look at it is because there was a crime or a traffic accident or some type of incident,” Sexton explained.

According to Sexton, the license plate recognition will only be used as part of active investigations, criminal activity or real-time emergencies.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

Sexton said if a bad guy enters the camera view, it has the capability of notifying police immediately.

“If a suspect is entered in NCIC, or they are wanted with a warrant, it would notify us that someone was coming into town,” he said.

Sexton said drivers traveling in the area without a criminal record should not be nervous.

“The only thing we are looking for is abnormal behavior, he explained. “Someone driving down the street shouldn’t worry because no one will see it.”

The city is conducting the test for the next 90 days.

If approved, multiple cameras could be set up at several intersections.

The cameras would cost around $35,000 per intersection. The system comes complete with a self-auditing system, which means every time a video is accessed there is a record of who did it and why.