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Palo Alto leans on license-plate readers to dent property crime

Original post made on Apr 4, 2023

Palo Alto's newest tool for solving crimes will soon loom over drivers as they move through prominent shopping areas and thoroughfares. Despite privacy concerns, the City Council agreed Monday to adopt automated license plate readers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 3, 2023, 11:24 PM

Comments (6)

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 4, 2023 at 8:51 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

Great news! I hope the readers can also detect and alert on cars that are missing license plates all together. The plan to review how things are going after a year makes a lot of sense. I hope general information such as what number of cars are stolen/with stolen plates/without any plates are publicly available.

Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 4, 2023 at 10:58 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

Wealthy Palo Alto is an attractive nuisance for crooks. These license plate readers will have a significant impact for both preventing crime and catching criminals who are sufficiently stupid to attack people and operate in Palo Alto.

The police have complied with the most privacy-sensitive (I almost said "paranoid") demands, such as not putting the readers in residential areas, and not holding the data for more than a month. The CHP retains ALPR data for 60 days. Standard retention time of this data by law enforcement is 1 year: Web Link

At the next election I hope people remember that City Council members Vicki Veenker and Greer Stone are more interested in virtue-signalling their concern for "privacy" than their responsibility to help the police prevent serious crime that affects all of us, and lowers the quality of our lives.

Two more points. (1) Sharing the information we gather with law enforcement in neighboring cities -- on stolen cars, cars without license plates, and cars used in criminal activity -- this is obviously the right thing to do. Police in Los Angeles share their ALPR data with many law enforcement agencies in Southern California. (2) To increase effectiveness in preventing crime, Palo Alto police need to install license plate readers in all their cars. Why has this not yet been done?

Posted by Easy8
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 5, 2023 at 12:42 am

Easy8 is a registered user.

Thank you Gennady as usual for your detailed reporting! Please remember to include in your summaries how the council voted, so we can keep track.

I just looked it up and it appears council approved this 7-0. So even though concerns were raised, it was unanimously passed, which appears to be a good decision.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2023 at 8:52 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

An interesting problem on my street which seems to attract a lot of people who want to ditch a car for a lengthy period is that the licanse plate numbers are not consistent with the age of the car. We seem to have problem with the cars that are turned into the state to get $1,000. They have license plates that are still active relative to yearly payment sticker. It appears that those license plates are sold under the table since there is still an active due date.
One subcontractor appeared in a very expensive RAM truck with a license plate that was 1996 year vintage. Then the ancient truck they brought had a new license plate number. A lot of license plate activity out there. Then the cars that do not have a license plate.
When I was at the Enterprise renting a car one person had a car stolen in San Jose. Look at the ancient cars you see on the road and check the license plates and numbers - tells you a lot.

Posted by Joey
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 7, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Joey is a registered user.

I think it’s a great idea. I trust police Capt. Reifschneider to know more about policing than council members. We hired a professional for the job. We should let him do his work.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2023 at 7:39 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

I hope they can catch the vehicles without front license plates, cars utilizing license plates stolen off other vehicles AND criminals who depart city limits after home invasions, stealing catalytic converters, etc.

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