LA MESA, Calif. — There may soon be more license plate readers in San Diego County.
They’re already in use in El Cajon, where critics say the new detection system is an invasion of privacy. Now, residents and city leaders in La Mesa are weighing in.
“Any tool that we can use to help make sure that everyone is safe is a good tool to use,” La Mesa resident of 10 years, Buddy Huard, said to FOX 5 on Monday. “People are coming by and flying up this hill doing about 60 … Those kinds of things need to be controlled. La Mesa PD is shorthanded and they can only do so much.”
Meanwhile, Suzanne (who chose to omit her last name) and her son Vince are also vying for extra security. They were both victims of a DUI-related accident. She says accountability is a plus. “He was speeding at a very high rate of 90 miles an hour. That wasn’t caught.”
La Mesa Councilmember Jack Shu says La Mesa PD shared plans of buying a Flock Safety license plate reader camera system at the community’s latest Police Oversight Board meeting.
The system sends real time alerts to police if it detects a stolen or wanted vehicle traced back to local, state, and national databases.
“This is another tool for our police department to use to try to catch people who are criminals,” Shu said to FOX 5. “License plate scanners have been proven to be pretty effective throughout the country and by neighboring cities as well.”
One of those cities being El Cajon which recently placed 40 cameras around the area to track license plates. While raising controversy over privacy matters, the system has proven to be quite effective in the East County city.
“If it was used for if somebody who was late on a payment of a vehicle, that sounds a little bit too intrusive,” Suzanne added. She says she’s in favor for the additional security but still has concerns over a potential invasion of privacy.
According to El Cajon PD, police recovered four additional stolen vehicles and conducted five arrests on Thursday, September 14th alone with the help of license plate reading cameras.
“It’s a tool that helps us read it quickly and get that information,” Shu said. “So, the idea is, we’re not trying to get something that’s secret or private of yours but something that’s very public of yours.”
The councilmember also says this information will be kept local and won’t go outside the state. He also says the community can keep city leaders and police accountable through the city’s oversight board.
La Mesa police will take the proposal to council on Oct. 10.