The Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) program was initiated by the RCMP in concert with the Government of British Columbia Ministry of Solicitor General Police Services Division. This project represents a multi-agency endeavor and includes Major Crime / Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) and RCMP
E Division Traffic Services.
The ALPR goal is to reduce auto theft and motor vehicle violations in particular those related to prohibited, suspended, unlicensed and uninsured drivers. The ALPR program assists in the recovery of stolen vehicles, property and related vehicle criminality. Major Crime/IMPACT determined that the majority of auto thefts in the Province of British Columbia are related to the commission of other criminal offences. The data collected on the ALPR pilot project revealed the ALPR system is even more beneficial in identifying individuals driving while prohibited, suspended, unlicensed or uninsured under the Provincial Motor vehicle Act or the Criminal code. The prohibited, suspended and unlicensed drivers are major road safety issues since the drivers lost their licenses because of poor driving behaviors which cause collisions.
The ALPR System is a license plate recognition program that allows vehicles observed by cameras to have their license plate read and recorded using pattern recognition software. ALPR uses colour, infrared cameras and recognition software to read license plates at a rate of up to 3000+ per hour. The cameras are mounted on marked and
unmarked police vehicles and take a picture of parked and moving vehicles.
The photographed license plates are run against the ALPR data base loaded daily into each ALPR on board computer unit.
Hits appear on an ALPR screen in unmarked vehicles and on the Mobile Work Stations (MWS) in marked vehicles. While the
hit can be made to appear on the MWS screen, there is no direct interface to the MWS and the plates are not run against the CPIC or ICBC Driver’s data bank. A manual interface (Police Officer) is required to key the license plate into the MWS for CPIC and ICBC Driver’s database access. The ALPR System only records the license plate numbers, where the vehicle was located, the type of hit recorded and the resulting action taken. In 98% of the pictures taken no distinguishing features can be seen in the vehicle since the camera focuses on the plate. When the officer registers a hit from the ALPR system, he/she then proceeds into an investigation and must access the information from CPIC or the ICBC Driver’s Data bank as is presently done on a daily basis by all police officers in the Province when initiating an investigation.
There is an increasing recognition that individuals involved in auto thefts, unlicensed, prohibited/suspended and uninsured drivers are all high risk drivers that are over represented in serious collisions. It is hoped by using the ALPR this will increase the perception of apprehension and lower the high violation rates associated to unlicensed, prohibited, suspended and uninsured drivers that have been observed in the initial ALPR pilot project. The attached statistic of charges in the Lower Mainland pilot projects for the past two years clearly show the ALPR system is an effective tool to deal with individuals who decide to drive without a valid license or registration and it has helped capture auto thieves and wanted individuals.
From February 2007 to Sept. 2009 there has been 3,637,651 license plate recognitions and 67,189 (1.85%) hits. Resources allowed for action to be taken on 11,040 (16.43%) hits. This led to 3,676 (33.30%) individuals being charged with the following offences.
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