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Denver PD license plate readers lead to recovery of stolen vehicles, arrests


DENVER — The Denver Police Department is more than halfway through installing automated license plate reader cameras, and already the technology has led to the recovery of stolen vehicles and arrests.

The department began installing the cameras on May 4.

The goal is to install 111 of the license plate reader cameras throughout 70 intersections in Denver. As of Wednesday morning, roughly 81 of the cameras have been installed.

“License plate reader technology is a camera that actually recognizes an alphanumeric character from a license plate,” said Denver Police Lieutenant Alfonso Cervera.

If a camera detects a license plate belonging to a stolen vehicle, it immediately notifies Denver PD and nearby officers. The lieutenant said the alerts are coming in 15 to 30 seconds after the vehicle passes through the intersection.

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“[Officers] have to confirm the plate was actually scanned. There’s always errors,” said Lieutenant Cervera. “Then they have to verify that it’s still wanted or active in our criminal database.”

After that’s all been verified, nearby officers go out to the area where the license plate reader camera picked up on the stolen vehicle.

“They will then take any type of enforcement action to either try and stop it or do a high-risk stop or, you know, that type of activity,” he said.

Since installing more than half of the cameras throughout Denver, Lieutenant Cervera told Denver7 the department has recovered more than a dozen stolen vehicles and made more than two dozen arrests.

“At a minimum of 31 arrests as of today, and I think 17 vehicle recoveries that were recovered for auto theft,” he said.

The department is working on a transparency dashboard for the license plate reader cameras, which the public will have access to.

“The transparency dashboard will give the number of reads, the number of alerts that have actually been received, the number of searches that were done,” Lieutenant Cervera said.

“Like everything else, we’re always doing more with less,” he continued. “Any kind of technology that we get, it definitely helps us get that awareness of being able to receive those alerts, know what’s going on because an officer can only do so much and see a vehicle this way.”

The department hopes to have all license plate reader cameras installed by the end of the month.

Denver PD license plate readers lead to recovery of stolen vehicles, arrests


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