New devices coming soon to the city will give the Ridgeland Police Department additional help in crime prevention.
City officials recently voted to move forward with the installation of eight license plate readers in high traffic areas across the city. According to Police Chief John Neal, the exact locations will not be disclosed, but they have identified several areas that would benefit from this technology.
“RPD command staff has evaluated areas around the city where we feel they will be beneficial to us,” Neal said. “We do not disclose the exact location due to our crime prevention or crime fighting tactics. The areas selected have a high level of vehicular traffic and are in our more populated areas where investigators are more likely to benefit from the images.”
Several sites have been discussed as possible locations for the cameras, including along County Line Road, Old Canton Road and Highland Colony Parkway.
As for how they work, Neal said the cameras sense motion and take a photograph of what is in the frame when motion is detected.
“The technology now days will provide an image of a license plate and any distinguishing features of an object it captures,” Neal said. “We rely heavily on our citizens and witnesses to crime to provide valuable information to us. If a reporting party to a crime has a lot of details about a suspect’s vehicle, this technology will assist officers and investigators with narrowing a suspect pool and hopefully result in arrest of violators.”
The information available to the police department depends on the image captured by the cameras.
“Obviously if we capture a license plate, we can get vehicle owner information for that particular plate,” Neal said. “Nothing in the system will identify the owner of the car, that is all handled through other investigative means.”
Neal added that information obtained through these measures is not a violation of privacy.
“No information is obtained that would violate any privacy issues,” he said. “This system serves the same purpose as if I were to stand on the street corner and take a picture of every car as it passes by.”
The cameras will cost approximately $2,000 per year, per camera. Approval from the city was the first step. Next, the police department will work with Flock Safety personnel to identify strategic locations to best serve the city before moving forward with installation.