BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — License plate readers are coming to UAB. The university’s installment request was approved during Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting.

City Councilor Hunter Williams said the license plate readers will be located in various public right of ways and will provide UAB’s police department with alerts to identify wanted or unpermitted vehicles.

The cameras will enhance the police department’s ability to monitor what’s happening on and around campus in real time. Councilor Williams compares the devices to gaming cameras.

They’re a part of what’s called the ‘Flock’ system, automatically uploading images to a database police departments monitor. Williams said almost every municipality in Jefferson County utilizes them.

“A detective from an adjacent municipality can enter in the tag, see where that vehicle has traveled and get a better description of either helping him solve the crime or helping him identify where the stolen vehicle might be or just help with the investigation period,” said Councilor Williams.  

Councilor Williams said if a detective is looking for a suspect, and a tag is identified with an incident, all police departments that use this system can utilize it to find the wanted vehicle.

He noted a consistent problem in law enforcement is that so many different groups of investigators like UAB’s police department only work for specific areas.

“However, the criminal element as well as the victim’s property does not know those political boundaries,” said Councilor Williams. “And so, this solves that and it allows detectives from all over our metro area to have an idea of what happened to a specific piece of property and have and give them a leg up in terms of the time it takes to recover property or find somebody they’re looking for in connection with the crime.”

UAB junior Deseray Stone said something like the installment of license plate readers could be a positive addition. She said this addition would make her feel safer while on campus.

“I think everyone is aware that Birmingham is not the safest city in Alabama,” said Stone. “So, when it comes to having something like that that helps protect students that are kind of just walking freely on campus, I am all for it because it’s such a big campus and you never know what can happen.”

CBS 42 reached out to UAB, but they declined to interview at this time. UAB officials did say in a statement  sent to CBS42 they are eager to explore this technology as the safety of everyone on their campus is their top priority.