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Plainfield police hoping to reduce crime with new license plate readers

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — There is a new crime-fighting tool in Plainfield: automated license plate readers. And they will soon capture every license plate that passes by through the town’s main thoroughfares.

“It’s a deterrent,” Plainfield Police Department Deputy Chief Joe Aldridge said. “We’re getting out in front of it right now and we’re letting the community know that we have them.”

Police will be piloting the program first for free to determine how they want to use the system. Then to sign on, they’ll need to pay more than $27,000.

The cameras will keep each vehicle’s license plate number, make and color, but not people or faces. The information is stored for 30 days.

The Plainfield Police Department says crimes often go unsolved because of a lack of information, so this new technology will help change that.

“You have Amber Alerts, you have Silver Alerts, people that are wanted who have stolen vehicles,” Aldridge said. “Those are serious situations that people are in need.”

Aldridge says someone stole a truck from a gas station in Plainfield while a baby was still inside the vehicle in September 2020. Later on, the child was found in Indianapolis. He says these new cameras will help them solve these types of crimes more quickly.

“Had we had these license plate readers up at the time, we would have known which direction this vehicle left town relatively quickly based off the victim’s information of the plate number,” Aldridge said.

But some Plainfield residents are raising concerns.

“If it serves the purpose to help with Amber Alerts or car break-ins or other criminal activity, that’s fantastic,” Melissa Ankeny said. “But I don’t believe that we have a large crime right here in Plainfield.”

The Plainfield Police Department says the cameras will start functioning sometime in the next two weeks.

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