What’s the latest technology in high-tech cop cars? According to Wired magazine, it’s something called a high-speed Digital License-Plate Reader.
- Here’s how it works: It’s a squad car complete with two roof-mounted cameras, two cameras looking out the rear window, a computer in the trunk, and a computer keyboard and monitor on the dash. It automatically reads the license plate of every car the police unit passes, and compares it to the “hot list” of stolen autos and outstanding warrants.
- Up until now, officers would play what they call the “stolen car lotto.” They pick cars they think are stolen, and manually punch the license plate number into their dashboard computer……Then wait while the computer dials headquarters and checks the “hot list.” But it’s almost impossible to find a “winner” that way. In fact, in Los Angeles, which is the auto-theft capital of America, one patrol officer playing the stolen-car lotto might type in 100 plate numbers during their shift, and get nothing. And if they grab 6 car thieves in a single year, they get an award.
- This automated, digital system can handle up to 240 plates a minute – and nabs an average of 3 stolen cars a day, and 12 car thieves a month. Digital License Plate Readers are being tested in California, Florida, Connecticut, New York, Ohio, and Arizona……In Alabama, cameras and radar systems are automatically writing speeding tickets as violators race by……And in France, the police have doubled their revenue from speeding tickets, and cut speeding-related deaths in half in just two years.
- The Big Brother Robo-Cop car may not be in your neck of the woods yet – but it’s coming. And it means you’ll be safer, and your stolen car will more likely be found……Sounds like progress to me.