Greenville, a northeast suburb of Dallas is the latest city to acquire a new automatic license plate scanning systems for their police department. This system will be used by the police department to search for stolen cars, and identify drivers and cars flagged in the database as wanted by the police.
As reported in the Greenville Herald-Banner (via istockanalyst), the city was awarded a federal grant to purchase an Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) system for one of it’s police cruisers.
The Greenville already have one Platescan system in use, paid for by a local group called the Hunt County Crime Stoppers, which has been successful in identifying stolen cars, and flagging one person on a felony warrant.
These license plate scanning systems combine cameras that can snap images of all vehicle license plates within visual range (including moving at highway speeds), scan the plate numbers, and match them with an on board database in real time. If any license tags register a “hit” for any reason, the officer in the vehicle in instantly alerted, and can take action to stop the car in question.
Police officers love these systems, allowing them to tag and track virtually every car on the road, instead of occasionally and randomly entering plate numbers by hand.
Typical hits for cars flagged in law enforcement databases, include cars tagged as stolen, or wanted for any other reason, like amber alerts. The database can also be matched with law enforcement and court databases to identify cars owned by those with criminal warrants. They can also match with DMV data indicating that the owner/driver may be operating on a suspended license.
The bottom line is that if you suspect that you are wanted by the police, or shouldn’t be driving, you just cannot expect to get away with it. These systems are rapidly deploying nationwide, creating a vast law enforcement surveillance web.
The fact is, you are being watched, and your movements are being tracked. You may not be able to do anything about it, but you need to know that it is happening.