By Joshua Huff, sports editor
SPRINGVILLE — It’s safe to assume that you can count the city of Springville as one of many satisfied Flock Safety camera customers as the license plate readers helped lead authorities to the suspect sought in an AT&T store theft in December.
The suspect, Julius Durr, of Birmingham, allegedly broke into the AT&T store located at 300 Springville Station Blvd. in Springville on Dec. 21, 2019, cut the security cables from a phone display and stole two iPhone 11s.
Upon fleeing the scene, Durr’s vehicle was caught by Springville Police Department’s Flock Safety cameras located in the area. With the help of the cameras, investigators were able to track the vehicle to Crestwood Boulevard in Birmingham. A search warrant for the vehicle was obtained and Durr was arrested on Jan. 16 at his job site after information discovered from the warrant led investigators to him.
Durr was booked into the St. Clair County Jail on charges of criminal mischief and theft of property charges.
The Flock Safety camera captures snapshots of vehicles, not video, and alerts authorities to stolen tags, stolen vehicles, and to tags registered to a person with a warrant. The solar-powered, wireless camera can be used by neighborhoods or HOAs for $2,000 a year. That service includes installation, cloud services and maintenance. If a community uses a camera, they can give permission to police to access data and, in turn, help solve more crimes.
Springville has had the cameras for six months now. They currently have seven located throughout the city, and they plan to purchase more.
Several surrounding cities have already seen the benefits of the cameras. In December, Trussville’s cameras alerted authorities to 59 vehicles in the first 30 days of operation. Trussville Police detective Ben Short said he expects to see even more in the future.
“We’re going to continue to improve upon those numbers,” said Short. “We’re going to attack this from a strategic standpoint, in terms of where the cameras are located.”
Moody has been using the Flock Safety cameras for several months now, as well. In November, the Moody Police Department had already captured stolen tags and cars from Georgia, Florida and Alabama, and has seized various illegal narcotics and wanted suspects across the southeast region, according to a press release.
Moody detective Sgt. Christopher Johnson said the police department is committed to safety for the citizens and visitors of Moody.
“We believe that everyone deserves to live, eat, shop and travel in our city without having to worry about being the victim of a crime,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. For those that do not, we have, and will continue to seek to resolve crimes against our residents and visitors utilizing a combination of dedicated professionals and the most effective technology available to us.”