Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology has become an essential tool for law enforcement teams. Now, advances in vehicle recognition technology are making it even easier to use this technology as a force multiplier for investigators.
Helping Solve Crimes Faster
A recent Genetec survey of law enforcement professionals revealed that more than two-thirds of violent crimes occur at night, and 60 percent of crimes involve a vehicle. Advances in the quality of ALPR cameras now allow these systems to capture clear images at night or in low-light conditions, such as rain, snow, or fog. Some ALPR systems don’t even need investigators to know the license plate number to search for a vehicle.
The automatic license plate reads with context images combined with innovative ALPR software goes beyond reading license plates to identify vehicle color, type, speed, and direction of travel. With a vehicle-centric investigation system (VCIS), investigators can find vehicles of interest even if they don’t have the exact plate number. If a witness to a crime reports that they saw a black pickup truck speed away, police can search the database for images of black pickup trucks captured by ALPR cameras within a certain radius and time period of the event. This helps generate a list of potential suspects. The list can be further narrowed using additional search parameters.
An ALPR system with VCIS isn’t just useful for investigators after an incident occurs. It can also be used to help track and locate suspects in action. Officers can log into the VCIS web app from a laptop inside a cruiser to quickly select specific intersections and filter to view only cars of a certain type, those with expired insurance, plates reported as stolen, or plate numbers associated with a missing person’s report.
In the past, ALPR systems were difficult to install. New solar-powered cameras are a game-changing leap forward. These solar-powered cameras can be deployed and ready for use in a matter of minutes with reducing installation time and costs. Zoom and focus can be set up remotely with these cameras, and data processing happens in the cloud, saving power and extending battery life.
The advancement in technology allows law enforcement agencies to easily deploy cameras in crime hot spots. As the hot spots change, they can relocate the cameras as needed. Solar cameras can be positioned in the ideal location to enhance the read capabilities and performance. They are not limited to where electrical power and infrastructure can be accessed. Further, advances in battery and solar panel technology mean that cloudy weather and low light conditions aren’t a dealbreaker any longer.
Powerful Combination of Solar Power and VCIS
Advancements in vehicle-centric investigation technologies are making crimes involving vehicles easier to solve. Using solar-powered ALPR cameras and a VCIS, law enforcement agencies can now go beyond license plate identification to capture and analyze vehicle characteristics to aid in investigations whether these crimes happen during the day or night or in challenging weather conditions. The combination gives law enforcement an important tool to solve challenging cases faster and keep their communities safer.
The author, Larry Légère, is Commercial Director for AutoVu, Genetec.