The City of Chicago has added 100 patrol vehicles equipped with license plate reader (LPR) technology to its fleet since January, as part of the city’s strategy for combatting carjackings and car thefts. Year-to-date figures show motor vehicle thefts are at its lowest level since 2000, according to a press release from the city.

"The License Plate Reader vehicles are the latest deployment of technology that will help police officers target violence in our neighborhoods," said Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "These vehicles have been effective in our efforts to address vehicular hijackings and auto threats and are integrated with the Strategic Decision Support Centers that exist in the districts.”

Automated LPR technology allows CPD to match license plates against the list of stolen vehicles sent to the LPRs daily by the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. If a reader detects the license plate of a vehicle reported as stolen, officers are notified by the system and can conduct a stop to investigate further. Alerts are also analyzed in CPD's Strategic Decision Support Centers, which are high-tech nerve centers within police districts across the city.

Between January and April 2019, the city plans on deploying 50 new patrol vehicles per month, and every police district in Chicago will have at least six LPR-equipped vehicles in its fleet. Once the rollout is completed, Chicago PD will have 244 LPR-equipped vehicles in total and 126 pole-mounted LPR units. The city also utilizes mobile booter vehicles that canvas streets six days a week, providing more than 3,000 license plate reads per vehicle, per day.

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