(Image used under a Creative Commons license.)
The Baltimore Police Department is planning to deploy license plate reader technology at 15 sites around the city, officials told a City Council committee at a recent hearing.
Speaking at a Nov. 26 hearing, BPD Commissioner Michael Harrison and CTO Edward “Woody” Davis Jr. said the technology will be in place at fixed sites around the city by the end of the year. Davis said the locations have already been identified, but they were not disclosed.
“Between now and the first of the year, we would have surveyed these locations, deployed the 15 systems and connected them to our infrastructure so they can be fully operational,” Davis said.
City Council President Brandon Scott said he has been asking to deploy more license plate readers, and called them an important tool for identifying stolen vehicles. Scott released a statement about the technology following a pair of carjackings in Upper Fells Point over the weekend that were shown on surveillance cameras, including a Ring doorbell, WBAL-TV reported. Police made three arrests in the case.
“Reducing violent crime in Baltimore is my top priority,” Scott said in a statement. “We must employ effective tools in that fight. That is why — with carjackings up 22% this year in Baltimore — I am grateful for BPD’s follow-through on adding more license plate reader units to the city’s fleet.”
With the new deployment, the city will have a total of 35 license plate readers. The license plate readers that will be deployed in this round are stationary, which is distinct from those that are mounted to vehicles. Harrison said in this case the stationary version is currently preferred because that means they won’t be taken offline when a police vehicle goes in for maintenance.
Scott, who is a candidate for mayor in next year’s primary election, is pushing for more. He told the police leaders that he wanted to work with the city’s Department of General Services to prioritize maintenance so that more readers could also be deployed on patrol cars.
“Further investment in this technology is needed, particularly to increase the number of car-mounted units available to our officers,” Scott said. “Still, this is a step in the right direction. We must continue our focus on approaches that are proven to reduce violent crime.”-30-
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