Vehicle Cameras Could Capture More Than License Plates

Vehicle cameras

Around the country, police are outfitting their cruisers with a new piece of equipment to help fight crime. Cameras capable of scanning the license plates of vehicles that enter their field of vision are growing in numbers every year. While police cruiser cameras augment the array of fixed-position cameras in various cities, there are many license plates moving about that they can’t catch. That number could be significantly reduced if these cities were to harness the fleet of government vehicles that visit every street, every day.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology has been around for decades, though its use was limited in its early years of life due to the low data processing capabilities of computers at the time. As computing technology became more advanced in recent years, ANPR use has expanded rapidly across the globe. License plate cameras have been used to successfully track criminal activity in cities across the U.S., leading to many arrests. Data obtained from the cameras can also assist in tracking and locating those responsible in future crimes, with some police units retaining license plate information indefinitely.

While data obtained from license plate cameras is extensive, it’s not comprehensive. That could change if cities enlisted the aid of postal vehicles. For a fee, cities could be permitted to mount special cameras on postal vehicles, allowing for expanded area coverage wherever they frequent. The potential venture could have the symbiotic benefit of significantly expanding license plate data reviewed by police while also bringing in additional source of revenue for the Postal Service.

Do you think postal vehicles could be used as mobile camera platforms to help police fight crime?

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3 Comments

  1. Andrew

     /  September 10, 2013

    Bad idea. We’re delivery service agents – not law-enforcement. Doing this invites the potential for attacks on drivers and vandalism of equipment. Leave surveillance to those whose job it is to conduct those types of activities.

  2. Jonn

     /  September 10, 2013

    Yeah, I think I’d rather see ads on USPS trucks than cameras, though I don’t see ads as being very appealing near a USPS logo. Maybe ad bumper stickers?

  3. Anonymous

     /  September 10, 2013

    I agree that it’s a bad idea. I think people would begin to think of our carriers as “Big Brother”, and we would lose our credibility and the reputation of being the nation’s most trusted government agency.

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