CARLSBAD (NEWS 8) – Dozens of cameras equipped with license plate readers are up and running in Carlsbad and according to police, the system is already paying off.
The new set of eyes will be looking for cars connected to crimes. Since going online last week, the cameras have already helped recover three stolen vehicles.
“If we are able to apprehend them and recover that vehicle before they commit any other crimes in Carlsbad, that is good for our community and good for our city,” said Captain Mickey Williams, Carlsbad Police Department.
Currently, there are 51 fixed license plate reader cameras mounted behind traffic signals at 14 intersections – each taking shots of plates. There are six plate reader cameras on patrol cars.
According to Carlsbad police, since 2014, property crimes have been on the rise. Last year, it spiked 23%.
“It’s unnerving because I don’t think we are a high crime area, but for prevention, that is great,” said Donyale Barrett.
The cameras will also be used to find cars connected to Amber alerts.
When a vehicle passes one of our license plate readers, than the digits of the plate are captured is run through wanted databank, according to Carlsbad police.
In the past, some have voiced big brother concerns, but authorities said there is no personal identifying information within the license plate reader system.
Police said during the deployment of the license plate reader cameras, they held ten community question and answer meetings.
Carlsbad police said they have been using license plate reader cameras for their cars since 2011.
The Carlsbad City Council approved the license plate reader program on a five year contract for $807,000.