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Police explain how license plate reading technology helps them catch criminals

Wellington considering using technology
Posted: 8:11 PM, Jul 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-12 12:09:58Z
How police catch criminals using LPR cameras

The cameras are small, but the license plate recognition technology, or LPR, attached to each one give police a whole lot of information. 

“Because vehicles are pretty much used in every type of crime it provides us with intelligence information that we normally wouldn’t have if we didn’t have this technology,” said Town of Palm Beach Police Capt. Curtis Krauel.

Known as an LPR, the cameras continuously scan every single car driving past them. Police say right now it’s the most efficient way to catch a criminal in real time. 

“We can actually download the image and send it out to the officers and give us a little bit better perspective,” said Krauel. 

For example, if a stolen car drives past an LPR camera it will notify the department with a ping notification including a photo of the car, the exact time, nearest intersection and any additional photos taken from other LPR cameras. 

NewsChannel 5 put the technology to the test with the Town of Palm Beach. It only took the department seconds to find us and with exact precision. 

“I can see there it’s a Ford Focus 2014, it lets us know it came over the Royal Park Bridge, eastbound and in the outside lane,” said Karuel. 

The Town of Palm Beach is just one of several departments in South Florida using this technology. Not too far away, the Village of Wellington is the newest place that wants to jump on board. 

“In most cases, while we are low crime, we are not no crime. So it’s our council’s desire, as well as staff, and PBSO to drive that number down as low as possible,” said assistant village manager Jim Barnes. 

The plan is to put 31 cameras at 7 different intersections. The intersections include Binks Forest Drive south of Southern Boulevard, Stribling Way near State Road 7, Lake Worth Road near Panther Run Elementary School, Big Blue Trace south of Southern, Forest Hill at Quercus Lane, Forest Hill at Stribling Way and Forest Hill at Lyons Road. 

“It really gives us an added layer of protection because we have more information from which to serve our residents,” said Barnes. 

The Wellington Village council approved funding on Tuesday night. It’s expected to cost the village more than $300,000 to install the technology and the annual operating costs of about $35,000.

Barnes said the funding is coming from the village’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund. However, before they can move forward the council must vote on an official contract at the August 15 council meeting.