Ten more cars have been stolen this year than last year up to this time in bonneville county, but idaho falls police say they have a new digital device that could help make locating these cars much quicker among many other benefits it can bring.
Shine up your license plates because there is a good chance it could get caught on camera while you're driving around town. This device is known as an Automatic License Plate Reader. It usually sits somewhere on the police vehicle so that when other cars pass it, it takes a reading of your license plate, loads it into a database where the number is run through a program where it identifies if that car is related to any suspicious activity and then it notifies the officer driving.
"It's just another tool that we use to help us solve crimes that occur in our community quicker," said Mark McBride, the Idaho Falls Police Chief.
This device has already located one stolen vehicle in the last few months. Police Chief McBride adds that it can also help with amber alerts or to help locate a possible suspect. This device though is stirring up some concern about where we draw the line between safety and privacy.
"It makes people nervous, but I can tell you that unless we get a hit on something we don't even get into that data base unless we are looking for a specific person for a specific reason related to criminal activity," added McBride.
It is very unlikely that the Bonneville Police force will get another one of these due in part to the $20 thousand dollar price tag and its efficiency.
"With the budget and the amount of success we had as far as solving crimes right now I don't see the benefit of not hiring an officer versus getting another camera," said McBride.
McBride continues to say that this device does offer some unique benefits, but for now Idaho Falls Police, one is enough.
The Bonneville county sheriff's department also has one of these cameras and the police chief says they are becoming more and more common in larger cities where they are placed in stationary spots along with more police vehicles having one.