Today, in communities across the country, automated license plate recognition is transforming how law enforcement operates, helping officers become more efficient and effective with often limited resources.
The City of Baytown, located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, is a great example of the positive impact a license plate recognition program can have on a community. Home to major industrial corporations including Exxon, Chevron, and Convestro, the city sees a large transient population of workers who travel in for their shift and then travel out to their homes in Houston or the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, a byproduct of the growing community and increased opportunities has been an increase in crime.
Understaffed and overstretched, the Baytown Police Department took proactive action to amplify and extend its law enforcement operations with automated license plate recognition (ALPR) and Avigilon video technology from Motorola Solutions. Baytown mounted the cameras on towable trailers, allowing for a highly versatile and mobile solution.
The superior image quality and best-in-class optical character recognition (OCR) algorithms from their ALPR cameras along with the analytics power of their Avigilon cameras mean Baytown officers can automatically search license plates, then have the option to zoom in and see details of the car and passengers.
“We’re short-staffed and we have people that come from surrounding areas, commit their crimes, and leave our jurisdiction,” said Baytown Police Sergeant Dallas Bish. “We needed ALPR technology so we can apprehend criminals as they’re leaving. With this solution, we now can go back and research to see what passenger cars were on a specific road at a specific time.”
Hitting the Ground Running On Day One
Baytown officers were given extensive training on the new systems prior to their license plate recognition program implementation. The training went beyond simply providing operational instructions to actually focus on practical ways to maximize the technology in real-world settings.
“Within 24 hours of our first training session, we got almost 29,000 license plate reads and had our first lead from an open case,” said Bish.
Since implementing the solutions, the Baytown Police Department has had access to expert insights from the Motorola Solutions Vigilant Training Team as well as continuing education programs through webinars, onsite training sessions, and case assists.
Baytown has seen impressive results from the new systems. Sergeant Bish shared one example of the early results they’re seeing:
A neighboring agency reached out about a home invasion. They had the license plate of the suspect’s vehicle. We ran it through our database and we saw it passed our readers six times the same day of the home invasion. Since we also had Avigilon cameras, we were able to zoom-in and get visual confirmation of the suspect. We put the vehicle on the hot list and as soon as he passed one of our readers, one of our officers stopped him. We arrested the man and he gave a full confession.
Baytown highlights how today’s ALPR tools are changing law enforcement for the better, helping agencies operate more efficiently to maximize limited resources. As Baytown demonstrates, when the right technology is properly implemented and deployed, law enforcement can better manage threats with greater awareness, intelligence, and ultimately, results.