During the July 13th meeting of Plymouth Township’s Council, the council members voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Goldenberg Group, which owns the 47-acre Metroplex in Plymouth Meeting, to install license plate readers on the Metroplex property. In addition, the township and the property owner have agreed to split the annual fee (approximately $12,000) for the license plate readers with the township. Note that there will also be readers in locations around the property as well.
What are license plate readers? From the Brennan Center for Justice:
Automatic license plate readers use a combination of cameras and computer software to indiscriminately scan the license plates of every car passing by. The readers, which can be mounted on stationary poles, moving police cruisers, and even handheld devices, log the time and date of each scan, the vehicle’s GPS coordinates, and pictures of the car. Some versions can also snap pictures of a vehicle’s occupants and create unique vehicle IDs. footnote1_4516ja86 The devices send the data to ALPR software, which can compare each plate against a designated “hot list.” Such lists can include stolen cars and cars associated with AMBER Alerts for abducted children. footnote2_w5jum7r7 They can also reference vehicles that are listed in local and federal databases for reasons that may include unpaid parking tickets or inclusion in a gang database. footnote3_zt86ba48 These queries happen automatically, though officers can also query plates manually.
If you follow MoreThanTheCurve.com regularly, we have articles on the theft that occurs there on a somewhat regular basis.
After the vote, Plymouth Township’s Chief of Police John Myrsiades stated that this agreement is a good example of the police working with a stakeholder in the community and that the license plate readers will allow the police to keep the residents, business people, and visitors a lot safer.
License plate readers do raise questions in regards to civil rights and liberties. You can read more about that here.