Belvedere Joins Growing Trend of Bay Area Cities Using License Plate Cameras

Add Belvedere to the growing list of Bay Area cities using license plate cameras to record every car, truck or motorcycle coming in and out of the community.

The move is reigniting privacy concerns.

"I have a problem with the data base being compiled of everyone who comes and goes," Tiburon-resident Camille Bosworth said.

Last year the City of Piedmont decided to spend $650,000 on cameras and license plate readers to track cars traveling on the main arteries in and out of town.

The Town of Tiburon has had the cameras and readers since 2009.

"Our crime has dropped a third since they went in," Tiburon Town Manager Margaret Curran said. "And we think people coming here in stolen vehicles pretty much aren't coming for the views. We think they're coming to commit other crimes."

Curran said the data is flushed from the system after 30 days and access to the data base is monitored.

The ACLU has complained that other cities with the same cameras like Concord and East Palo Alto allow data to be held for upwards of two years. Meanwhile, Berkeley does not have a retention policy.

Curran points out that the license plate is the only thing being photographed and not the occupants in the vehicles.

"I know it was a big concern for people, whether they would be photographed coming and going and they're not," she said.

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