Neighbors Install License Plate Reader in Los Gatos

The sign warns visitors they will be under surveillance 24/7 once they enter the area.

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A group of neighbors in Los Gatos teamed up to pay $2,000 for a license plate reader on their street for a year. Residents said it has given them peace of mind.

The sign warns visitors they will be under surveillance 24/7 once they enter a Los Gatos neighborhood near Kennedy Road. That's because 11 neighbors paid to put up the license plate reading camera.

"Someone got into our street and stole things from cars," resident Sheri said. "The next morning we were able to pinpoint the suspect's car that came through."

The resident said the license plate reader also caught an image of a truck driving away with a bike just reported stolen.

"The police are spread thin, so they just can't be everywhere at once," Sheri said.

Meanwhile, digital civil liberties group Frontier Foundation has concerns.

"Automated license plate readers are a sophisticated surveillance technology primarily used by police, and I don't think your average community group has the training to ensure that the technology is not abused," said David Maas with the foundation.

Los Gatos police have yet to return messages seeking comment on this story. The California State Auditor is expected on Thursday to release details of a seven-month investigation into the use of license plate readers across the state.

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