Six intersections at various entrances to Manteca will soon have license plate scanners in place.
The City Council on Tuesday authorized purchasing 27 license plate scanners from Lehr of Sacramento for $348,645. Municipal public works crews will install the cameras under guidance from Lehr representatives to avoid additional costs of $3,500 per camera.
The six intersections are Lathrop Road at Union Road, Lathrop Road at Airport Way, West Louise Avenue at Airport Way, South Main and the 120 Bypass, South Union at the 120 Bypass, and South Airport Way at the 120 Bypass.
The goal is to eventually create a “ring” around the city allowing Manteca Police to capture the plates of all vehicles entering the city.
It was pointed out that even though Yosemite Avenue at Highway 99 is a high priority with heavy traffic entering the city it wasn’t included in the first phase due to the sheer number of scanners that it would require.
Each lane entering an intersection will have a scanner. They will take digital photos of the rear of vehicles. The first shot will be of the rear license plate. The second will be of the overall back of the vehicle that tends to have additional identifying items such as bumper stickers and items on the window.
The system Manteca is using is tied into the Vigilant system. The firm currently has 8.1 billion records in its data basis. The city uses Vigilant for the 30 surveillance cameras that were installed last year. Neighboring cities such as Ripon Sacramento and Merced use Vigilant allowing the city to access that data as well.
Manteca Police Captain Charlie Goeken said the department will be able to enter a license plate of a specific vehicle and the system will pop up every time a scanner captured the plate complete with time, date, and location allowing officers to conduct investigations.
An example of improved efficiency in solving crimes that Goeken provided is if a car is stolen or is involved in a crime in Manteca and it’s caught “8 to 10 times in three weeks” passing a scanner in a neighboring city it will help police narrow the search. If a stolen vehicle or a car with a license plate that police have entered into the system in connection with a crime passes under a scanner in Manteca it will alert police immediately.
The system is also designed to allow upgrades to be added by the city at a future date include the capability to secure surveillance video by simply plugging it into the devices being installed on traffic signal cross arms.
Lehr is also working on adding technology that will allow speed calculations of photographed vehicles to be made.
Since the view is from the back of the vehicles people in the cars will not be identifiable.
In the advent of a prolonged PG&E outage, the scanners have the ability to store digital scans of 50,000 vehicles. Once power is restored they are then sent by wireless transmission with the flagged plates — those that have been reported stolen or involved with a crime — being transmitted first.
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