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Manteca may deploy license plate readers

Manteca in 2019 could have between 8 and 10 locations within the city monitored by license plate recognition cameras.

The City Council on Tuesday is being asked to tap into the $2 million in the General Fund Technology Reserves to purchase the license plate recognition cameras expected to cost $350,000.   

Some form of license plate readers either in stationary locations or mounted on police units are used by 71 percent of the nation’s police departments, according to the Police Executive Research Forum.

“The City believes that with the purchase and placement of license plate recognition cameras, the Manteca Police Department will be able to deter criminal activity at various locations within the city limits as well as have a tool to help in the identification, apprehension and prosecution of criminals,” noted Police Chief Jodie Estarziau in a memo to the City Council.

The cameras are used by other departments tapping into a statewide data base to quickly scan the plates of passing vehicles for:

*Detecting stolen vehicles.

*Scanning for vehicles tied into missing person reports, wanted felons, Amber Alerts, and gang members.

*Investigations that can help place a suspect at a crime scene and aiding in witness identification.

Over the years when Manteca Police have broached the subject of license plate readers, crime prevention involving stolen vehicles and stolen license plates that had been reported was seen as the biggest immediate impact.

The Manteca Police 12 years ago pitched the idea of having the developers of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley be required to include license plate readers at center entrances as a crime prevention tool. The police pointed out the data reaffirms the conclusion that stolen vehicles — or using stolen plates — are often used by those who commit significant or repeat shoplifting offenses. The suggestion that carried a price tag of $500,000 at the time for equipment of high enough quality to be effective was deemed too expensive. After the first full year of JC Penney, Best Buy, Bass Pro Shops, and other stores being open Manteca Police reported that the overall center reported nearly $900,000 in shoplifting losses.

The system instantly scans license plates and matches them with data bases. When a license plate on the data base is detected it alerts the police

In September the council approved a $347,891 contract with V5 Systems for the first phase of a citywide video surveillance system. It will include 30 cameras with solar or battery packs that can be moved throughout the community, additional cameras that will be used at the Manteca Transit Station and 11 bus shelters from federal money restricted for transit security, servers to store a year’s worth of footage, software to monitor the cameras, training, installation, and a two-year warranty.

The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email