4 License Plate Readers Paid For By Federal Grant

GLEN COVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The city of Glen Cove is getting some more smart eyes in the sky to help track possible crimes.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, four more license plate readers will be installed in the Long Island city along Route 107.

Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi said unlike in other communities, the readers were paid for by a federal grant.

He said the technology is used to look for stolen vehicles, abducted children, criminal suspects and even those who are driving without insurance.

“They’re angled down to just catch the license plates of passing vehicles,” Suozzi told Hall. “It reads about 150 license plates a minute, I believe. It can see at night as well.”

The readers can also be used to help nationwide searches.

“If a license plate is wanted out-of-state, and it’s put into the system, it would catch that as well,” said Suozzi. “If a child was abducted, God forbid, the license plate readers would get that license plate entered into it at the county database, and if it shows up, it immediately puts out an all-points bulletin to the surrounding jurisdictions.”

Glen Cove already has 53 cameras in the downtown area. Police said the cameras helped city police catch a 79-year-old man accused of trying to abduct a 15-year-old girl last month.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, some Long Islanders don’t like the idea of more cameras.

“Everything’s under surveillance,” one man said. “No privacy, for God’s sake.”

“I don’t like the feeling of being spied on,” another man said.

But Glen Cove police say the video footage — captured on streets, in public garages and in parking lots — is used only if needed to track a criminal or find a missing person.

“This is just to solve crime. It’s not to snoop,” Police Chief William Whitton told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

Not far from Glen Cove, the Village of Kings Point, on the Gold Coast, is also building an extensive surveillance system, following a $1 million bond approval.

“When the project is done, there will be 44 license plate readers and 19 videos covering every entrance to the Village of Kings Point,” said Police Commissioner Jack Miller.

Some Long Island residents, however, said they understand the need for wider surveillance.

“Although it does have some Big Brotherism to it, given the times and issues of terrorism, safety and crime, I’m not opposed to it,” said Carl Schreiber, of Glen Head.

Extensive surveillance systems seem to be a growing trend. Glen Cove and Kings Point officials say they are fielding calls from police agencies from across the state and beyond that are interested in adding or expanding their surveillance.

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