Sponsored by Rekor Systems
By Tim Dees for Police1 BrandFocus
Automated license plate reading systems demonstrate their value on a daily basis with substantial increases in the recovery of stolen vehicles, identification of vehicles associated with wanted persons and the generation of investigative leads for crimes not directly related to vehicles .
About halfway through the second decade of large-scale deployment of these systems, we now see the next generation of advancements in technology, refining applications for mobile platforms as ubiquitous as the smartphone. At the same time, the falling cost of acquiring LPR makes this technology more affordable for smaller law enforcement agencies with less money to invest in the technology.
Rekor Systems is a leader among technology companies bringing LPR within reach of small and large agencies. Rekor offers multimode LPR systems with options providing flexibility, adaptability and scalability that were previously unattainable with any combination of hardware from any vendor. Rekor is one of the few vendors that can run LPR using only a smartphone.
The typical mobile LPR installation uses cameras and a computer installed on a patrol car. The car is either parked at a choke point for vehicle traffic, scanning the license plates of passing vehicles, or driven through streets and parking lots, capturing license plate data and comparing the readings to a list of license plates of the wanted vehicles.
The cameras are usually mounted on the fenders or light bar of the car, exposing them to inclement weather and damage from vandals. Each of these facilities could cost over $ 20,000, putting them beyond the reach of many law enforcement agencies.
Rekor Scout software
The software that runs Rekor systems is called Rekor Scout. Rekor Scout allows users to search its database of registered license plate images for vehicle manufacturer, color, model, location and direction of travel. It reads and interprets standard, vanity, temporary and paper plates issued by motor vehicle bureaus in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and processes alerts with an average delay of just 10 seconds.
But Rekor Scout does not rely on data from Rekor cameras alone. The software can handle the output of almost any traffic, security, or IP camera, and an open API base allows data sharing with other agencies, regardless of which company sold them their LPR system. The software costs as little as $ 49 per month.
Rekor is also bringing advanced LPR technology to agencies large and small with a special offer of $ 100 per month per camera. With a minimum of 10 cameras and a five-year commitment, Rekor will provide Rekor Scout and Rekor Edge cameras allowing any department to easily deploy and scale an LPR program with no complicated setup, no upfront hardware investment, and no maintenance costs.
PTZ and mounted camera options
Rekor’s vehicle-based LPR solution, called Rekor Finder, uses high-definition cameras mounted inside the patrol car, safe from damage from bad weather and bad guys. A typical two-camera configuration covers two to three lanes of traffic on either side of the patrol car. A processor module resides in a “black box” which can be moved, along with the cameras, from one car to another as needed, even in unmarked or rental vehicles.
The cameras and processor are agile enough to capture license plate data from vehicles approaching the patrol car at close-in speeds of up to 140 mph. The system works in both daylight and low light environments. The processor module has both Wi-Fi and LTE (cellular data) connectivity, and records each reading with a time stamp and GPS coordinates where the plate was found.
Rekor Edge is a family of mountable ALPR cameras, intended for placement on a building or utility pole. There are three models, optimized for business and residential districts, major roads and intersections, highways, highways and other remote locations. The cameras capture license plate data from vehicles traveling at speeds of up to 120 mph and are equipped with infrared lighting for nighttime use. A solar power option is available for installations where hardwired power is not available.
Rekor Trailer is a portable solution equipped with a traffic radar and a “YOUR SPEED” display for motorists. The trailer resembles radar trailers already used in many communities as a passive measure to deter speeding. Discreet cameras record the license plate data in view and the hotlist results are immediately transmitted to a remote monitoring point. The trailer is equipped with a 300 watt solar panel and a battery with up to 15 days of autonomy is available.
LPR on your smartphone
Perhaps the most innovative of Rekor’s LPR products is Rekor Blue, a smartphone app designed for law enforcement. Available in Apple and Google Play app stores, Rekor Blue works on most smartphones and can work without the need for a wireless data connection.
With Rekor Blue, once the app is installed, users download or connect to a list of license plates of interest using their Rekor Blue-equipped smartphone, then use the smartphone’s camera to scan the number plates that appear. License plate data is pulled from the camera view and compared to the hotlist in real time. The software alerts the user to any hotlist matches without the need to “call home” and compare the data with a remotely hotlist.
Rekor Blue can make a significant improvement in both the productivity and safety of officers conducting investigations or on patrol. Undercover officers and undercover officers can use the app to scan plates while appearing to be using the smartphone for another harmless task, continuing their investigations without raising suspicion as to their real intent.
Automated license plate reading systems and vehicle intelligence have proven to be a force multiplier. An officer can monitor multiple lanes of traffic and be alerted to the presence of stolen vehicles or other vehicles of interest with far greater efficiency than an entire team of officers could provide. This technology is now within the reach of law enforcement agencies of all sizes, in particular with the Rekor Blue smartphone application. The free trials offered by Rekor make it easy to test the technology and determine how your agency can benefit from an LPR program now and in the future.
Visit Rekor Systems for more information.
Read more: How to Bring an LPR Program to Life in Your Community