UPDATE (Aug. 21, 2018, 11 a.m.): In a 4-1 vote, the Carlsbad City Council Tuesday approved the police department’s plan to add 35 new license plate scanners at 20 new locations in the city.
10News learned the scanners will be added to "areas of high service calls." City officials said they would be placed in the following areas:
-- 16 scanners downtown
-- 4 near motels near intersection of Avenida Encinas and Poinsettia Lane
-- 13 near large retail malls
-- 2 at the city's northern border on College Blvd.
City officials said the scanners could be operational in the next few months.
In response to the city council's decision, the local chapter of the ACLU issued this statement:
“Instead of spending taxpayer money on essential public safety needs, like infrastructure improvements, Carlsbad is wasting those funds on a surveillance system that will track the location of Carlsbad residents using a vendor that we know has provided data to federal agencies. Carlsbad should spend this half a million dollars on real public safety reforms instead of a system that, according to the City’s own numbers, scanned 48 million license plates belonging to Carlsbad residents and visitors.”
Initial report posted below
CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - Carlsbad may nearly double the amount of license plate scanners that are now on top of its traffic lights.
The city installed the scanners at 14 intersections in 2017 and says it's led to the recovery of 65 stolen vehicles. A staff report says the scanners have also helped police arrest masked burglars who used sledgehammers to break into businesses at night, located two attempted murderers, and helped recover a stolen AR-15.
On Tuesday, the Carlsbad City Council will consider spending an additional $537,000 to add the scanners to 20 more intersections. The city is focusing on areas of higher crime, such as retail centers and Avenida Encinas, which a report says is site of drug and property related crime. It would also add the scanners, made by Vigilant Solutions, to the downtown area.
"We're not here to track people at larger. What we're here to do is capture criminals," said Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall. "We know approximately when the crime was committed, so you can go back and look at the plates that transferred during that period of time."
The scanners run the plate numbers through a law enforcement database of stolen vehicles and stolen plates. It will immediately alert dispatch if there is a match.