By Steven Tavares.
City and Town Council’s in Dublin and Danville voted this week to welcome the addition of automated license plate readers to their cities. They join Pleasanton, Livermore and San Ramon, which have previously approved similar surveillance tools.
The devices are not cheap. The Danville town council approved last Tuesday an initial expenditure of $840,000 for 36 license plate readers and 33 other cameras called “sitcams” that capture real-time footage at intersections.
On the same night, the Dublin City Council agreed to spend $327,500 for 8 vehicle mounted readers and 6 pole-mounted cameras along entry points to the city from Interstates 580 and 680, according to the East Bay Times.
While residents in Oakland and its neighboring cities have lodged complaints about ALPRs and their ability to capture bulk data, in addition, to concerns over how long the license plate information will be stored and who will have access to the information, many more conservative East Bay communities have registered few concerns.
Despite the cost and concern about the systems in some East Bay cities, there was no comment made by members of the public in Danville, according to the Pleasanton Weekly and very little questioning in other cities outside the Greater East Bay.
In Fremont last year, the city council approved up to 10 surveillance cameras to be placed near freeway on ramps and exits with a single public comment. There was also a push to place surveillance cameras in some Fremont neighborhoods to help stem the perception of rising crime in that.
Some cities like Dublin, however, have been able to successfully enlist its resident’s help in keeping an eye on the public realm by offer the local police department access to their own private surveillance cameras.
Berkeley, meanwhile, is using five license plate readers for another use–monitoring street parking.