Surveillance technology and tools are becoming cheaper and quite easy to get. This goes for everyone; citizen or police. A Miami neighborhood is at odds over how tools such as virtual fence should be used.
The coral area of Miami is quiet, green and most of it is enclosed with many barriers to entrances. The outcome of security efforts spanning several years is that the area has only four official entrances that give access to 463 houses.
As a result, there is very little crime in this area. However, late last year, members of this community began a new project that some feel may cause division. Almost one-quarter of all the homes in this area have contracted a private company to install license plate monitoring technology. This is meant to capture the number plate of vehicles entering this neighborhood.
This virtual tool has cause division in this community, particularly those who do not like this kind of monitoring. Other members have supported this tool because it will help fight crime. Unfortunately, this technology is unmonitored and unregulated by authorities.
Those who are opposed have raised questions that mirror the concerns of others in different parts of the world.
The need for this technology came after a community member was highjacked within her driveway two years prior. The effort to turn neighbors into partners in the installation and management of the security system caused a lot friction.
A few residents feared that the high jacking incident was being used to paint the picture of a crime-infested neighborhood. This necessitated the need for technology.
However, the push to have this technology had a level of urgency that some residents found to be suspicious. The company tasked with installing this system is based in Atlanta and goes by the name Flock. It is a privately owned company with branched in about 33 states.
It owns the license readers installed in about 20 neighborhoods but not the data collected via the system. Instead, this data belongs to the people it signed a contract with.
Some states have made it illegal for private persons to own and use these plate readers due to privacy issues. The few that use these plate readers limit the application to law enforcement only. They include New Hampshire, Arkansas, and Maine.
Florida does not have such restrictions. As a result, the adoption of emergent technology has set the pace for plate readers to be used widely in communities such as Coral Gate.