A rash of home burglaries is prompting big changes in Danville, which will be armed with more than a dozen automated license plate readers before the end of the year.
Police say the latest burglary occurred on Monday. The suspect is believed to have robbed homeowners as they slept.
The uptick in crime encouraged leaders to sign off on a plan to install license plate readers at 13 locations across the city. Six readers will also be mounted on patrol cars.
On Wednesday, surveillance cameras captured a man calmly buying gift cards at a gas station. Police say the man is using a credit card that he stole from a nearby Danville home while its residents were sleeping.
The robbery in question was reported a few doors down from Tom Thomas’ La Jolla Court resident. He says it’s just one in a string of robberies that have targeted the upscale neighborhood.
“This area of Danville seems to be a little hot spot for the frequency of burglaries,” Thomas said.
“We wanted to come up with some innovative ways of combating the property crime problem,” said Lt. Allan Shields with the Danville Police Department.
Sheilds said authorities hope the license plate readers will combat the spike in property crime.
“The hope is that we get the message out to criminals: ‘If you come to Danville, we are going to be able to find you. So shop somewhere else,’” Shields said.
Although regarded as a good move for law enforcement officials, license plate readers can be dicey from a privacy rights standpoint. But Thomas says he is “very supportive” and that the readers can’t come fast enough.
In the interim, police are still looking for the suspect involved in Monday’s home burglary. People with information are asked to call the police department at (925) 314-3700.