PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria police are praising the recent technology that’s helping them investigate and solve crimes in the city.
Matt Briggs, Captain of investigations at the Peoria Police Department, said the 16 License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras that were placed in different neighborhoods have, so far, helped with 18 major cases.
“Those 18 major cases range from stolen vehicle recoveries, missing person being located, locating vehicles that have fled from us, hit-and-run vehicles, vehicles that were used as suspect vehicles in burglaries, catalytic converter thefts,” Briggs said. “We’ve used them in a homicide investigation already, we’ve used them in two arson investigations, several different shooting investigations.”
Briggs said the cameras were placed in some hot spot areas for crime in the city. He said half of the cameras were fully operational at the beginning of March and about a week or two later all 16 were fully operational.
He said so far they’ve used the cameras in everything they thought they would from criminal investigations to public safety issues.
“Those are your 100% successful cases,” Briggs said. “These were significant cases where LPR were used to finalize that case.”
Briggs said one of the original main misconceptions and fear of the cameras compared them to red light cameras.
“That’s not what we’re using them for, we’re not citing people for violating stop signs, red lights, and speeding,” Briggs said. “They just read the license plates, all it shows is that you passed that camera while you were driving.”
“So the normal citizen would never really know they were there, or have a concern that they were there because we do nothing with that information unless it’s directly related to a criminal investigation or a public safety investigation.”
The locations of the 16 cameras were recently released to the public, and Briggs said he couldn’t objectively say if that revelation affected the effectiveness of the cameras.
“We took a lot of time in analysis as to where we placed those cameras, so we’re still comfortable they’re doing the job they should be doing right now,” Briggs said.
He said the department would like to get to a point where they can add dozens more cameras throughout the city, making the locations insignificant.
“We’re hopefully going to work off some more grant money that will get us some more cameras, but eventually we’ll just have to make a proposal for the city council, and hopefully they’ll see the benefit like we do and allow us to continue with this.”