Police in Morgan Hill will begin using new technology soon to help prevent or solve crimes in the city.
The police department is partnering with Flock Safety for a 30- to 60-day pilot program to install 25 fixed automated license plate reading cameras in strategic locations around Morgan Hill to provide the vehicle and license plate evidence needed to help solve crimes. Previously, the police department owned and operated three mobile license plate readers that are no longer operational.
According to Morgan Hill police, seven in 10 crimes are committed with a vehicle.
Flock Safety, a public operating system, assists more than 1,200 cities in 40 states with reducing crime by up to 70 percent. The company's cameras capture the make, model, color, aesthetics, state registration sticker and license plate (full, partial or missing) of any vehicle that travels past the cameras.
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Morgan Hill will hold town hall meetings to share the results with the community after the pilot program ends. At the meetings, police will address questions and receive community input on policy and privacy concerns.
The main goal of the technology is to assist officers in identifying suspects involved in crimes throughout the community.
Police officials said that with limited information provided to officers on scene by witnesses and victims, the technology will be utilized to identify offenders as they approach or leave the scene of a crime.
The technology will also alert police officers to vehicles that are reported stolen, are tied to an Amber Alert or a wanted person. Morgan Hill will own all of the footage captured by the cameras.
Police said the cameras will not collect personal information such as names, phone numbers and addresses. Also, the cameras will not be used in collaboration with towing or repossession companies nor for purposes of obtaining immigration status or for determining unpaid fines or traffic enforcement.