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Suffolk County installs license plate readers to aid in solving crimes

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announces new license plate readers
Office of Suffolk County Executive
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announces new license plate readers.

Suffolk County Police has installed new license plate readers on street poles and other locations throughout its third precinct to help investigate crimes in the area.

Officials said the cameras have already helped to solve several crimes. The precinct includes Bay Shore, Brentwood, and other areas in the town of Islip, which have higher rates of gang violence and homicides.

State Assemblymember Phil Ramos, D-Brentwood, said the cameras create a crime-fighting net around the community.

“The key to their functionality is for them to be strategically placed so that nobody can leave any neighborhood here without passing one of the cameras,” he said.

The cameras can read and cross reference thousands of plates a minute with records from the state.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said police will be immediately notified if a spotted vehicle has a connection to a crime or missing person, "which we can then use, the department can use, to mine for trends and clues about where crime is happening and where crime is going.”

Due to privacy concerns, police are expected to follow specific protocols to obtain information on drivers.

License plate readers are also in use in parts of Nassau County, including Long Beach, Freeport and Hempstead.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.