Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR)
AUTOMATIC LICENSE PLATE READER [ALPR]
Automatic License Plate Recognition: Technology Ensuring Public Safety
Among technological advancements implemented in law enforcement, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) is a highly-touted and overwhelmingly valued engineering marvel enabling police officers to concentrate on myriad other things while the ALPRs perform autonomously with exponential dividends.
These tiny devices serve as virtual patrol partners. Attached to police cruisers —some of which have more than one ALPR affixed— the cameras essentially photograph vehicle license plates at an impressive rate (thousands per hour), at cruiser speeds up to 140 MPH, scanning and matching plates contained in various governmental databases. Matches result in a “Hit” at which point the police officer/operator is alerted by an alarm denoting an “attention-worthy” record has been found.
Record-matching comprises Wanted Fugitives, Terror Watch-listed individuals, AMBER Alert suspects, Revoked/Suspended licenses, and Vehicle Insurance scofflaws. Pretty much any violation of law which has an associated vehicle/auto registrant involved is automatically contained in the database (culled by ALPRs) and is fair-game for law enforcement officers to take action.
Any ‘Vehicles of Interest’ input in database-pooled information records are nabbed by the constantly-peeled real-time unblinking eye of an ALPR. Crime-fighting tools have assuredly evolved!
Stemming the Tide of Terrorists
No human on the planet is unaware of the unspeakable human decimation and property destruction visited upon our nation on 9/11. Twisted psyches enacted twisted terror which was nothing shy of stupefying. However, from the twisted wreckage and enormous loss of life, American resolve brushed itself off, snapped back into shape, and launched unprecedented information-gathering efforts. Those efforts persist as sure as the oceans tides: unfailingly.
With ongoing intelligence gathering which chronicles anti-American terrorists and maniacal radicals among the Terror Watch lists, ALPRs are instrumental in sniffing-out and matching automobiles associated with suspected jihadists. One example involves the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) and how its use of ALPR technology helped unearth 106 known terrorists lurking in its metropolis jurisdiction. That is a whopping dividend with exponential life-saving results. Also, just imagine the extent of absolute destruction had ALPRs not discovered these 106 cowards among the vast population and structures in Philly!
In that context, technology-based instruments such as ALPRs are hugely valued by law enforcers whose jurisdictions encompass environments with chronic, high-volume populations such as airports, maritime terminals, athletic event stadiums and arenas, military compounds, skyscrapers, train depots, shopping malls…and the list goes on.
One catch by an ALPR can avert inexplicable disaster in any of these venues. Preemptive-strike is the name of the game!
Making ‘The Job’ Easier
That’s one of the beauties of ALPR technology: not only can it swiftly detect a questionable car based on a database-search “Hit” but it can also instantaneously deliver responses to cops while they are operating their cruiser. Historically, police officers would literally scan with their own eyes, focus on one or two particular license plates at a time, and verbally request police dispatch personnel to “run” the information. Invariably, wait-time ensued…while the vehicle-in-question drove on, allowing would-be suspects to formulate plans to thwart law enforcers. The proverbial cat-and-mouse game typically follows.
More contemporarily, police officials “run” their own license plates via in-car Mobile Dispatch Terminals (MDTs, otherwise known as laptops). While operating their cruiser and maintaining safety, checking license plates via laptops was an enhancement over providing info and waiting for a dispatcher to reply, necessitating the need to speak via police radio while driving. Again, this method limits the quantity of license plates one can run to receive information and/or verify suspicions.
Then along came ALPRs! The vast amount of information computed instantaneously resulting in real-time dividends is purely astronomical. Ultimately, freeing-up officers in any way possible adds another imperative layer of officer safety. Further, considering the vast amount of license plate checks an ALPR can process over the minimal amount a police officer can run equates to extraordinary potential in terms of closing that many more cases stemming from technology.
The times they are a-changin’!
ALPRs are blueprinted with portability and user-friendly applications, easily detached and re-attached from one police cruiser to the next (if need be). If your agency shares police cars among different squads, the portability feature affords logistics benefits, ensuring there is no down-time for any ALPR. Keeping each device in-service underscores its importance, viability and longevity.
In terms of relocating, anchoring and housing ALPRs in police vehicles, engineering incorporates integrity-based emplacement, with simple cable connections to power source and, Voila’…you’re in business. Conveniently, all ALPR scanning/matching activity displays directly across the cruiser’s in-car laptop screen. Full-color, clear display of the vehicle in-question is illustrated. License plate registration details not matching the vehicle color, make or model you are observing? Well it appears the ALPR device may have discovered someone whose vehicle has an illegally-attached license. ALPRs swift “Hit” results invite police officer scrutiny and enforcement.
The time-saving benefits provided by ALPRs are phenomenal, freeing-up cops to drive and be physically abreast of their surroundings…while technology is locating questionable vehicles and wanted suspects. Automatic License Plate Recognition equipment is tremendous in terms of facilitating police practices, tactics, strategies, officer safety and results. When your terrorist-detecting ALPR partner is a tiny machine which can do the work of an auditorium-full of computer operators, you are paired with excellence.
Vigilant’s Fixed LPR provides an integrated fixed camera offering to law enforcement for strategic monitoring and intelligence gathering around a city, region or critical infrastructure location.The System features a compact dual-lens (infrared and color) LPR camera engineered for extreme conditions. The camera recognizes license plates in the camera’s field of view, matches against various agency hotlists, and notifies law enforcement of matches. The system can also stream live video to a separate location such as a video management system or DVR.
Vigilant Solutions Mobile LPRThe System features up to four IP67-rated, low-profile LPR / ANPR dual-lens (infrared and color) cameras with integrated processors (also available in a more compact camera with separate trunk-mounted processor). Vigilant Mobile LPR recognizes license plates in the camera’s field of view, matches against various hotlists, and alerts the officer on the vehicle’s Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) or laptop.
3M Fixed ALPR Camera Systems provide an array of cameras designed to fit the needs of many applications. Each are highly configurable and provide coverage of a full lane of traffic with up to two concurrent vehicles in the field of view. Fixed systems allow for continuous monitoring of high traffic areas along with the ability to alert agencies when captured plates match those found on hotlists of interest. This allows for rapid, efficient, and appropriate deployment of resources. 3M's fully integrated license plate recognition cameras are rugged and compact, incorporating the fixed ALPR camera, illuminator and processor within a single sealed enclosure.
3M Fixed systems allow for continuous monitoring of high traffic areas along with the ability to alert agencies when captured plates match those found on hotlists of interest. This allows for rapid, efficient, and appropriate deployment of resources. 3M's fully integrated license plate recognition cameras are rugged and compact, incorporating the fixed ALPR camera, illuminator and processor within a single sealed enclosure.The High Resolution ALPR Camera was designed to cover 2 adjacent lanes of traffic for reading multiple plates in the same field of view while still producing high-resolution images of each license plate. It is fully web-enabled and IP- addressable while still maintaining a water-tight housing perfect for use in a wide array of operating environments.