With a $17 million grant from the state to combat retail theft and auto burglaries, San Francisco is going to put 400 license plate readers about town in hopes of catching more criminals.
Hey, remember that $267 million state grant to fight crime that Oakland missed out on because they blew a deadline? Well, San Francisco did not blow the deadline, and we got a total of $17 million from the state as part of what’s called the Organized Retail Theft Grant Program.
And now we know how some of that money is going to be spent, as KPIX reports that Mayor Breed just signed legislation to put 400 automatic license plate readers across town.
“We are making progress disrupting crimes and we are sending a message that San Francisco is not tolerating criminal activity of any kind,” Mayor Breed said in a Friday statement. “While we are continuing to build back our police force, it’s the smart thing to do to incorporate technology that supports the hard work our officers do every day to take care of our city and arrest those who think they can break the law in San Francisco."
“These license plate readers can play a critical role in disrupting retail theft, car break-ins, sideshows, and other criminal activity,” Breed added.
The announcement does not say where the license plate readers will be placed. But in a November announcement when Breed proposed the purchase, her office said that the cameras would “cover 100 intersections throughout the City.” In some cities, these readers are also placed on police cruisers.
It should be noted that not everyone is wild about these automatic license plate readers. The Electronic Freedom Foundation complains that these license plate readers “can be used to target drivers who visit sensitive places such as health centers, immigration clinics, gun shops, union halls, protests, or centers of religious worship,” and that “automatic license plate readers are used to track and record the movements of millions of ordinary people, even though the overwhelming majority are not connected to a crime.”
Image: New York City, USA - August 02, 2015: A set of NYPD Automated Number Plate Reader (ANPR) devices seen above a tour bus full of tourists along Broadway in the Manhattan Financial District. (Getty Images)