El Cajon 18 was caught on license plate cameras in August

On Aug. 26, after a license plate alert, police found a stolen trailer being towed by a truck in unincorporated El Cajon.

On Aug. 26, after a license plate alert, police found a stolen trailer being towed by a truck in unincorporated El Cajon.

On September 7, the El Cajon Police Department received an automated license plate recognition notification for a 2016 Hyundai Sonata stolen from Mollison Street and Chase Avenue. Officers in the vicinity spotted and stopped the vehicle being driven by a 17-year-old who is on probation for auto theft. The previous day, police received similar notices near Main Street and Greenfield Avenue, leading officers to locate a 2018 Dodge Ram stolen earlier that day. Both drivers were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday thanks to leads picked up by some of the 40 or so Flock Safety license plate reading cameras installed throughout El Cajon at high-traffic intersections.

“I’m actually very happy they got these,” local Socorro Flores told me over the weekend. “It certainly helps catch a lot of criminals, especially recovering stolen cars.”

During three weeks in August, the license plate program helped recover 18 stolen cars and trucks. The automatic identification program is a pilot program that was approved last March by the El Cajon City Council and launched in late July.

On August 9, police received an alert about a vehicle that had initially been reported stolen in San Diego three days earlier. Officers found the stolen vehicle and the suspected driver on Avocado Street. The accused had an arrest warrant against him.

The city has installed solar-powered Flock Safety Sparrow cameras around El Cajon, which operate day and night and capture images of passing vehicles. The cameras have built-in Long Term Evolution technology, which allows them to transmit information Immediately – Including license plates, colour, type of vehicle and vehicle fingerprint such as a missing tire cap – to the police station. On the other hand, officers can control the cameras. Then, if the camera automatically identifies a suspicious vehicle with the help of the Flock operating system connected to the national crime database, the system automatically alerts police officers.

On August 18, El Cajon Police received an alert of a stolen mobile home.

Of those 18 stolen vehicles listed above, one was driven by a suspect in a carjacking, one was related to a felony, and another was used in a San Diego County-wide theft spree. In the three weeks of August, 23 felony arrests were made due to license plate reading cameras.

Flores, one of the local residents I spoke to, hopes the city will add more cameras. “Anything that helps reduce crime is a good thing, in my opinion,” he said. Most people who express their approval online agree.

In El Cajon, the system is being tapped into a nationwide live video network, which notified the police department of a vehicle stop connected to a commercial burglary in late July in Winterhaven, a small city about 150 miles east of Yuma, Arizona. Other law enforcement entities across the United States that use the license plate system can triangulate and see if a vehicle associated with a San Diego County crime is entering their areas.

But only some of the El Cajon Instagram account’s 2,600 followers support the City Council’s approval of the 40 cameras.

Damage to the steering wheel column and dashboard of the motorhome.

One person using the IG handle trosttribe asked, “What if the perpetrator replaced the license plate with a different license plate? Then what? All that money spent on purchasing, installing, and monitoring the system could be spent on helping public schools and those in need! Crazy, foolish spending of taxpayer money.” .

The city’s social media official responded, “@trosttribe, as we’re sure you know, not a single city dollar can be spent on public schools. Fortunately, this taxpayer investment has already paid for itself by double in three weeks Just! “

Conversations continued back and forth on Facebook, with Vanessa K. commenting, “This may not be perfect, but it’s definitely progress. These numbers (mentioned above) are really impressive for such a short period of time. I’m not a fan of ‘Big Brother’ type things “But at this point, if these cameras really help, let’s try them. We can’t complain about crime and, at the same time, complain about the proposed solutions.”

El Cajon Councilwoman Michelle Mitchell agreed with Vanessa’s “Big Brother” hesitation, however, in this particular case, the cameras are working really well. I’m sure those (who) have had their cars stolen would really appreciate having their cars restored or returned. At least close the theft ring if the car is not returnable. It’s cheaper to put these license plate readers (which) work 24/7 than to hire 120 (40 cameras vs 40 officers for 3 shifts a day) more officers and have them stationed in the same areas as the cameras and have them there 24/7 “

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