HOUSTON — Some Houston-area cities are fighting crime by installing virtual gates around their communities. Dozens of cameras are taking millions of pictures of driver’s license plates each month.
One local police chief said the technology helped catch 25 times as many suspects in wanted vehicles as the year before.
Each time a vehicle passes one of the automatic license plate reading cameras in the Memorial Villages, a picture is taken.
In addition to stolen vehicles and missing persons, the Memorial Villages Police Department is alerted each time a registered sex offender drives past their cameras.
“For the month of December, I had five sex offenders come through the Villages,” Schultz said.
Because the chief said there are no registered sex offenders living in the villages – he took a closer look.
“I was getting hits, but only on Sundays,” he said. “It was someone coming here to go to church.”
The chief said he doesn’t have a problem with that, but he said if there’s ever an issue at a school or a daycare, the plate numbers collected by the cameras could be useful.
The Chief is an idiot…it captures the license plate registered to a person with a sex conviction, not the person who is actually driving the car who may or may not be a person with a sex conviction driving through on their way to church. I don’t want to insult Deputy Fife from a previous tv show because I like the actor who portrayed him, but this Chief is dumber than the character in that show. Put him, the GA Sheriff who likes yard signs, and their Sheriff buddy in FLA who grandstands with the press about keeping everyone safe under a big top and each one can have their own ring while taking turns in the center ring.
This application is no different than facial recognition software and hardware in use around the country that has been pulled for the fear of the surveillance state watching everyone.
One day, the wrong someone driving the vehicle registered to a person with a sex conviction is going to get pulled over and harrassed by LE because of their driving the vehicle…then all hell will legally break loose on LE and their dept because of this. I pray this happens so it gets legally challenged in court. Subpoena the ALPR data since it will possibly be the cause of the traffic stop and roll from there.
Clearly car thieves are going to have to get a lot smarter with ALPRs. I suspect the pros already have. They are only catching the causal thieves and not the truly prolific. Just like how the Registries only “protect” against people who are living completely lawful lives and don’t hinder anyone at all who wants to commit a sex crime.
Anywho, I’ve always Registered as many cars as I could. When my children were driving all over the states when they were in high school and college, all of those cars were Registered. They got all over the place. I even had law enforcement criminals trying to ask me why my vehicles were in other states for months at a time. Of course I never respond to them. But they asked. I still have a lot of vehicles Registered and a lot of different people drive them. If I don’t want to be harassed for whatever reason, I just drive an un-Registered car. Trivial. Anyone who was serious about committing a crime with a vehicle would not have it showing up with an ALPR. Duh.
I think it is funny that this law enforcement agency wasted resources checking about some PFR driving. Let’s help them do a lot more of that. A lot of schools where I live have these cameras and I drive by them all the time. I hope they are wasting a lot of time tracking that. It is my goal to keep them from doing useful work and to waste resources. So that would be perfect. Even better if they are tracking all my family members, as I expect they would.
I have a good number of cameras right now that record vehicle traffic around my properties. I’ve been thinking about ALPRs for a long time. I’m definitely going to look into getting some. I’m almost 100% sure I’ll have some at some point. Just have to decide when. I want to record who is driving around my properties. I will definitely keep a database of all of it. I will pay special attention to law enforcement vehicles and will probably keep those records for years. I bet the software that comes with ALPRs is pretty cool already but you could surely augment it as well. For example, I’d want to know exactly what days and times law enforcement vehicles were near me. With pretty graphs. Things like that.
No, it wouldn’t. More than 9/10 times its someone who’s plate wouldn’t’ register for anything.
Big brother and his electronic eyes.
It would be bad enough if it were happening only to those of us on the registry, but if they’re tracking that in their database it means they are also tracking every other car driven past them.
The software those cameras use all over the country is powerful, and I’m surprised that no one has tried taking it to SCOTUS as an illegal tracking system for people not suspected of committing a crime. To me it’s no different than putting a tracking device on a car, which I believe courts have ruled is not allowed without a warrant.
Don’t you love how they sell non-stop surveillance of everyone as such a wonderful thing?
Hey Chief, you know why nothing happened with that “sex offender” driving in the area? Because those people rarely recidivate! What a doofus. And heaven forbid a PFR is driving on public roadways. The horror!
Too bad there isn’t a plate reader that catches corrupt politicians and cops. Then it might be useful!
“…he said if there’s ever an issue at a school or a daycare, the plate numbers collected by the cameras could be useful.”
I know this article is dated, but it still applies; especially if this guy is just collecting plate pictures:
My wife drives my vehicle. So do my teenage children. They will be scrutinized the sole reason being the license plate is mine?? Wtf
You have got to be kidden me!!!
““We’ve arrested people from stolen cars to stolen mail, home invasions, people that are identity thieves, people in possession of other stolen property, people in possession of stolen firearms, wanted fugitives, you name it,” Schultz said.”
So the cameras were successful in identifying people who have ALREADY committed crimes but –
“In addition to stolen vehicles and missing persons, the Memorial Villages Police Department is alerted each time a registered sex offender drives past their cameras.”
Persons who have NOT committed crimes are of concern to this chief just because of the topic that interests people the most.
This is a joke!
I bet that if the chief had not mentioned $ex Offenders at all this article would never have made it to print.
Stalker Definition: “a person who harasses or persecutes a person with unwanted or obsessive attention.” I feel like this is what this police chief is doing to this poor registrant. 5 times this registrant was tracked? Where’s the warrant? Is this in the saturate the registrant agreed to? Think about it if you where to follow this police chief all day when he’s off duty and take photos of his car and track where hes going to keep a watchful eye on him, he would arrest you or kill you on the spot.
Simple solution………move out of the country.
With the incredible amount of every kind of criminal activity coming from police around the country recently, from poice brutality, sexual assaults, planting contraband, misuse of firearms, conspiracy and such, I wonder if we could have license plate readers to check and see if any off duty poice are passing by in neighborhoods where they don’t live so we can know who, where, when , and why these off duty officers are lurking around for who knows what?
Bay Area CA person here.
The city where I’m at now took pictures of my car during the annual.
When I asked where those pictures were going, I was told they were going into a local database if certain crimes in a location happened.
I really only go to the grocery, bookstore, and Target. Guess that surveillance is going to be real boring.
Honestly, I have no idea where this information is going or what’s done with it. I have only been pulled over twice in a decade and neither said anything about registration. I just do it because I want to be left alone and be done with it. Even the person doing the annual said they weren’t even looking at me because I hadn’t done anything in over a decade.
ALPR is just another iteration of database use by Law enforcement and administrative agents. It is an isolated localized form of mass surveillance. Assisting LEO was acknowledged by SCOTUS in Smith V Doe to be the alternative civil purpose behind sex offender database registry. ALPR IMO evidences how database use is of primary purpose rather than the alternative. However, there are serious problems with the over reliance on such gov databases.
Here I post one short vid of how misidentification via gov database use can play out, with serious implications for liberty of perfectly innocent persons and LEO! Woman sues LAPD for..https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ShtIZyZg5IA
There are more and more stories like this one, where citizens are finding themselves held in local jail based on OUT OF STATE warrant holds. Many times these innocents have never actually been physically present the state that issued the warrant.
Here is an example of LEO reaching for the database without probable cause AND even AFTER they’ve been informed by an attorney such use in unlawful. Racial profiling describes database misuse..https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l0MSUzSiGhg