Morristown, NJ

License Plate Recognition Technology to Combat Rise in Auto Thefts

Morristown Minute

A $10 million investment in license plate recognition technology follows a rise in auto thefts fueling violent crime in New Jersey.

Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin announced today a $10 million investment in automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology to reduce violent crime and motor vehicle theft in New Jersey. The funds come from the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

The funds will be used to purchase and expand existing high-speed, automated camera systems to capture and store computer-readable images of license plates in a centralized database accessible to law enforcement.

The ALPR technology will be installed at fixed locations throughout New Jersey and mounted on police vehicles. The equipment aims to provide law enforcement agencies with additional tools to combat the increased rate of motor vehicle thefts and the corresponding rise in violent crime seen in both suburban and urban areas of New Jersey.

“Because stolen vehicles are increasingly used in the commission of violent shootings, deploying these automated license plate readers will save lives.” – Acting Attorney General Platkin.

Portions of the funding will be allocated to the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) to deploy cameras along major roadways/highways that run throughout the state.

Intelligence gathered from these cameras will be shared by the NJSP in real-time, through the Regional Operations Intelligence Center and Real-Time Crime Centers operated by the NJSP, with relevant law enforcement partners as individual investigations determine.

The funds that remain will be available to county and local law enforcement agencies, all of which must abide by ARP rules and agree to share captured license plate information with the NJSP.

The state has seen a serious spike in motor vehicle thefts since the pandemic’s onset, with an all-time high of 14,320 vehicles that were stolen in 2021. The first quarter of 2022 is on track to have a 53% increase in motor vehicle thefts from 2020.

Stolen vehicles are often used in other more violent crimes, particularly shootings, across the state of New Jersey. A significant percentage of criminals who commit auto theft are involved in shootings.

“We need to do many things to stop the rise in car thefts in our…communities and this announcement today is one of the many pieces which will help combat it. This allocation will help make our communities safer, our roadways less likely to be used for criminal enterprise, such as human trafficking or gunrunning, and will enable officers to stem the rising tide of motor vehicle thefts across the state,” said Senator Vin Gopal.
“This investment will undoubtedly help combat the growing number of motor vehicle thefts and the associated rise in violent crime.” – Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.

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