Freeport, N.Y., is sending a message to criminals coming into the village: enter at your own risk. The village’s mayor said that’s because of the success of its newly installed license plate reading system.
Mayor Robert Kennedy calls it a fiber-optic ring around the village. The village’s License Plate Reading system has resulted in the recovery of 16 stolen vehicles, 2,000-plus summonses, and 25 arrests over the last three months.
"One of the people that came into the Village of Freeport, with a stolen vehicle, was wanted for murder in Virginia," he said.
The readers scan a vehicle’s plate, compare it to database, and alert police when there’s a match. Kennedy said it’s unique on Long Island.
"It’s implemented nowhere else in the fashion that we’ve installed it with fiber-optics that are impenetrable," he said.
Similar to New York and London, it’s hard-wired and monitored by police at a central location.
Other Long Island police departments use mobile readers mounted on police cars.
The system is not without its drawbacks, however. Freeport police say they also are spending a lot of time chasing motorists for minor offenses like driving with an expired registration.
Kennedy said officers have tried to scale back their responses to the 700 alarms a day triggered by the system.
Civil libertarians argue there should be a report detailing how the data is used.
This report contains information from the Associated Press.