As license plate cameras spread, criminals may be sorry

The New York Times reports: “There are 238 license plate readers in use in New York City, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. Of those, 130 are mobile. They are mounted on the back of police cars assigned to patrol duties across the city’s five boroughs and to specialized units like the highway and counterterrorism divisions. The remaining 108 cameras are set up at fixed posts at city bridges and tunnels and above thoroughfares.”

“The cameras have provided clues in homicide cases and other serious crimes. But they have been used in lesser offenses, too. With them, stolen cars have been identified, located and returned. The cameras have uncovered unregistered vehicles and those with stolen license plates. They can pinpoint fugitives from out of state who are linked to specific automobiles.”

The idea is spreading to smaller cities and towns. Read more here.

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I pulled into the airport parking garage to pick someone up. When I parked in the space, I turned off my car and heard, "REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE." I had no idea the bullhorn was talking to me. "REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE." Oh, me?
a few minutes later the policeman walked up to my car and said, "the license plate reader said my car was stolen."
I laughed and said, "this 180,000 mile car is not the car I would steal, I have better taste."
He said, " yeah, it was a malfunction of the reader." and he left.

WHAT??? can you imagine what havoc a malfunction of these readers can cause? What if I was a teenager, or someone who "looked" more like I would steal a car? do we shoot first and ask later? How much trust can you place on these readers? not much.
It sounds like an April Henry book! can have it! : )

Edited at 2011-04-27 09:39 pm (UTC)