Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent Eddie Johnson today announced that the City is halfway finished with the plan to install 200 new License Plate Reader (LPR) patrol vehicles to Chicago's police fleet. Since January 2019, 100 new patrol vehicles equipped with LPR technology have been deployed across Chicago as part of the City’s strategy for combating carjacking and car thefts. As a result of recent efforts to expand this technology, year-to-date figures show motor vehicle thefts are at its lowest level since 2000.
“Today, we are ensuring more officers are equipped with the technology and tools necessary to better protect their communities and keep this city safe,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As we continue to invest in state-of-the-art resources and supports for every police district in Chicago, we are doubling down on the proven strategies that are driving down crime in communities across the city.”
Automated LPR technology allows CPD to match license plates against the list of stolen vehicles sent to the LPRs daily by the OEMC. If a reader detects a license plate from a vehicle reported as stolen, officers are immediately notified by the system and can then conduct a stop to investigate further. Alerts are also analyzed in CPD's advanced Strategic Decision Support Centers, which are high-tech nerve centers within police districts across the city.
"The License Plate Reader vehicles are the latest deployment of technology that will help police officers target violence in our neighborhoods," said Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "These vehicles have been effective in our efforts to address vehicular hijackings and auto threats and are integrated with the Strategic Decision Support Centers that exist in the districts.”
The first 100 LPR vehicles were deployed across 22 districts throughout January and February. An additional 50 LPR vehicles will be deployed each month until April as part of the ongoing citywide rollout that will ensure every police district in Chicago has at least six LPR-equipped vehicles in their fleet.
The expansion of this technology will bring CPD’s fleet of LPR equipped vehicles to a total of 244 in addition to the 126 LPR pole mounted units and mobile booter vehicles that are utilized by partner city agencies including the Office of Emergency Management (OEMC) and the Department of Finance (DOF). The DOF booters canvas the streets six days a week providing over 3,000 license plate reads per boot vehicle, per day.
The effective use of technology is at the heart of effective modern policing and a core component of the City’s public safety strategy. This strategy includes the Vehicular Hijacking Taskforce, a multi-agency vehicular hijacking task force comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement partners and prosecutors who work together to identify carjacking patterns and apprehend targeted offenders. Additionally, CPD’s manpower continues to grow with new graduates leaving the Academy each month, allowing district command staff to focus resources towards those committing violent carjackings.
These combined efforts follow two years of consecutive declines in violent crimes, including a 44 percent decline in homicides and a 24 percent reduction in shootings compared to this same period last year.