Gone are the days when police officers only relied on their eyes and ears to solve crimes. Today, they have a bevy of modern tech tools to help them gather data. One such example is license plate recognition (LPR), which employs cameras posted around the community to keep tabs on vehicles of interest. To learn how license plate recognition assists law enforcement, comb through this simple guide on the subject.
Toll Collection and Traffic Violation Ticketing
One use of license plate recognition (LPR) is toll collection and traffic violation record-keeping. Toll systems of the past required cars to stop and throw coins into a machine. Now, drivers can pay as they drive past an LPR system with a device connected to their credit card. Those without the means to pay then receive a bill that finds them based on their license plate number.
Otherwise, LPR takes some pressure off police to patrol busy intersections. With cameras in place that know when someone runs a red light and records a picture of their license plates, cops can devote their energy elsewhere.
Beyond these daily functions, license plate recognition also quickens police officers’ reaction time in the moment.
Vehicle Search Support
LPR systems send alerts to troopers of specific license plates which tells them the time and place a suspect was driving. Not only that, but they supply an image of the vehicle in question. This is crucial information for time-sensitive Amber Alerts and auto theft cases.
Meanwhile, LPR allows officers to build a database to draw from later on when a crime occurs. This analytical method refers back to old information rather than utilizing in-the-moment data.
Ongoing Investigation Support
Violent crimes, bank robberies, and abductions spur large-scale investigations. Soon after they happen, officers can mine their existing LPR data to isolate travel patterns and look for vehicles of interest.
Concerns About Personal Information
Though license plate recognition assists law enforcement, analytic policing in particular comes with understandable concerns about personal information. If a police department stores up data from various neighborhoods, they wouldn’t be able to screen out data from law-abiding citizens. That information would be public, which concerns many. That’s why states have varying laws dictating how long precincts can hold onto license plate captures.
Though it eases the burden off those in uniform and will evolve to help more, there needs to be some type of personal information protection in place as the use of LPR becomes more widespread.
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