License-plate readers added at Concord Mills to monitor criminal activity

CONCORD, N.C. — Cameras rolling out Friday at Concord Mills that read license plates on vehicles will help monitor illegal activity on the property.

The mall has been the scene of several criminal activities, including the deadly shooting of a 13-year-old girl.

[ALSO READ: ‘She just touched everybody’: Loved ones say final goodbyes to teen killed in Concord Mills shooting]

Concord Police Capt. Todd McGhee said people won’t notice the new technology and they are not releasing where they are placed.

“We strategically placed them throughout this area, and the southwest area of the city,” McGhee said. “But we don’t want people to avoid the cameras.”

The cameras are from Flock Safety, and McGhee said their benefits are two-fold.

The cameras constantly run plate numbers through “hot lists” for stolen cars and missing and wanted people.

If a crime happens in the range of the cameras, investigators can get license plate information to help them quickly identify cars and people involved.

“I was all for it,” said Owen Parker, chairman of the Cabarrus Visitors Bureau, a board made up of local business owners and elected officials.

Parker said they love the idea and decided to pay $16,000 for the first year.

“If you’re coming to Cabarrus County, we want you to have a safe, enjoyable time,” Owen said.

The data from the cameras is used if someone is involved in a crime and is purged after 30 days.

“I want the bad people to know don’t come,” McGhee said.

[ALSO READ: Man arrested, accused of shooting outside AMC Theatres at Concord Mills]

Police and the visitor’s bureau said the success of the pilot program depends on local businesses and residents.

Community leaders hope the shops and neighborhoods will also get cameras that read license plates at their own expense to share data with police.

Police said it would strengthen the chances to capture criminals in the area.

(Watch the video below: Concord Mills ‘Youth Supervision Program’ remains in place 2 years after girl, 13, fatally shot)