Many local news media outlets reported on the horrifying robbery and outdoor shooting on Monday (Dec. 5) of a woman who had just cashed a check in a store at the intersection of Hillcroft Avenue and Bellaire Boulevard. The “good” news was the victim is expected to survive and the alleged robber — a female juvenile — was captured, along with her male alleged accomplice — by Houston police officers very soon after the crime took place.

Unreported (or underreported) was that the officers had quickly located the getaway vehicle thanks to the automated license plate readers camera system recently installed in the Southwest Management District — with funding approved by the District’s board of directors. The District paid for 40 of the automated license plate readers manufactured by Flock Safety.

“This is another Flock success story. The cameras have been extremely useful to us in multiple aggravated robberies, assaults, murders, and locating stolen vehicles,” an HPD supervisor said. “(Our) officers have fully embraced the camera system and it has become one of the most useful tools we possess.”

Almost immediately after officers relayed information about the getaway vehicle to the Flock data system, the camera network showed the vehicle had just traveled several blocks west of Hillcroft. With that information, one or more officers in patrol cars located and chased the vehicle; the two suspects exited the vehicle and ran; and officers caught and arrested them.

It turned out that an aggravated robbery warrant had been issued for the male in a previous case.

Kenneth Li chairs the board and board member Peter Acquaro chairs its public safety committee.

“The district board is honored to play a direct role in fighting crime in our area, using the funds we collect from commercial property owners to promote and protect the District,” Li said. “This is one of many examples of how these efforts are paying off, and we look forward to even more.”

“As a voluntary board, we care about our community and we work year round on supporting HPD on various crime initiatives, improving training opportunities and relational policing efforts in the community,” Acquaro said. “The Flock cameras are just one of many of those initiatives we have recently implemented and we are glad to see it is having a force multiplier effect for law enforcement to help protect our communities and help further reduce crime in our area.”

He added, “These cameras are making a statement:  ‘Come visit Southwest Houston to dine, shop, live and explore.  but if you are coming here to commit a crime, the odds are increasing that you will be caught.’ “