FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY)- License plate reader technology is helping secure the roads and community.

On Dec. 1, Franklin police officers used the technology to locate a child who’d been abducted by their non-custodial parent.

Flock Safety produces the readers, which are still cameras with solar panels mounted on them. The cameras zero in on license plate numbers. The numbers are referenced against law enforcement databases that store plate numbers associated with stolen vehicles and endangered persons cases.  

According to Flock Safety spokeswoman Holly Beylin, the technology stops 5% of reported crimes in the nation.

“The camera software then compares that license plate with the different databases such as the amber alert database or different FBI and crime databases, and it’s able to detect whether that license plate is associated with a stolen vehicle, a known wanted offender, or a missing persons case,” Beylin told 10 On Your Side. “Officers then know if that’s the case, they then go after the vehicle and see what they can find out.”

Beylin said that thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country use Flock. The cameras form a network, which member agencies can access.

Detective Keith Burggraff led the Dec. 1 investigation that resulted in the arrest of Nefertari Green in Suffolk. Burggraff said he frequently uses the Flock system in his investigations. He used to system to track down a narcotics dealer by investigating their movements on the roads. It’s been useful in investigating violent crime, as well.

“Two of my homicides, we’ve used the Flock system to get suspect vehicles. There’s no particular one case that it’s most effective. It runs the spectrum,” he said. “It makes the job more efficient. It frees up a lot of hands.”