LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Police Department is testing a camera system that could improve its chances of arresting car thieves, according to the Associated Press.

The system uses mobile digital cameras to scan up to 2,000 license plates per hour and compare them to a database of stolen vehicles. Officers are alerted as soon as the system scans a license plate of a vehicle that has been reported stolen.

The device was first tested in the San Fernando Valley during the busy Christmas shopping season. A few arrests were made and 17 stolen cars were recovered in a few days. Almost 28,000 cars were stolen in Los Angeles in 2004.