OnQ Blog

Developers: Putting a dent in neighborhood crime with Flock Safety system

Oct 6, 2020

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

When you're trying to rid your community of non-violent crime — theft, car theft, burglary, fencing of stolen goods — you soon find out how hard it is to capture necessary evidence.

The founders of Flock Safety saw that vehicle license plates were strong evidence for pursuing crime. But most automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology depends on expensive infrastructure. They set out to build a low-cost, low-overhead ALPR system that would provide compelling evidence without infringing the privacy of citizens.

Starting from a smartphone

Flock Safety built prototypes around off-the-shelf phones powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. They then turned to Lantronix, an innovator in product development services and edge computing modules, to refine the hardware design, freeing them up to perfect the software.

Lantronix combined its Open-Q 624A System on Module (SoM), based on the Qualcomm APQ8053 Lite, with a carrier board designed to Flock Safety's specifications. The resulting product runs Android and checks all the boxes for a low-cost, thin-infrastructure ALPR system:

  • Camera software
  • Cellular data connectivity to the cloud
  • Sensor support
  • Low-power hibernation
  • Device management for remote software updates
  • Solar recharging

The system can capture still images of passing vehicles and send real-time alerts to law enforcement when it spots a license plate on the FBI's NCIC list of stolen vehicles. Flock Safety has built in multiple layers of privacy protection that make the camera acceptable in the context of public safety.

Read the case study

We've published a case study called "Crime-Fighting Cameras that Communities Can Afford." Read it to learn more about the Flock Safety ALPR system, including how many vehicles per day it can capture (spoiler alert: 15,000) at what speed (spoiler alert: 75 mph).

And keep an eye out for more of our case studies about collaboration between innovative companies like Flock Safety and providers like Lantronix. The more you see how these providers add value to your development efforts, the sooner you can offload device development and focus on building the applications your customers want.


Qualcomm APQ8053 and Qualcomm Snapdragon are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.


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Rajan Mistry

Sr. Staff Engineer, Qualcomm Technologies

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