While vehicle theft continues to be a problem throughout rural and suburban Ottawa, the Ottawa Police are getting some assistance from the province on the matter.
The Ontario government is providing the Ottawa Police Services with $669,447 to help fight crime, including auto theft.
The Ottawa Police Services will use the funding for Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology – a system that consists of cameras that automatically scan licence plates. The system is installed in or on active-duty police cruisers and alerts officers to stolen or expired plates, or plates registered to suspended drivers. The system can also notify officers of missing and wanted persons and vehicles associated with AMBER alerts.
“The Province’s investment in new licence plate scanning technology for the Ottawa Police Services is welcomed news.” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MD, MPP Kanata—Carleton. “The new technology will provide greater safety for people and it is reassuring to know it will strengthen AMBER alerts in Ottawa. It is also great for our police to have this new scanning capability to curb the number of auto thefts in our City.”
ALPR technology is a system of cameras and supporting software that captures licence plate information and immediately compares plate numbers to a Ministry of Transportation (MTO) database with vehicle and vehicle owner information. It also has the capability of capturing vehicles of interest (e.g., amber alerts, stolen vehicles, suspended driver(s), etc.).
“I commend our government and the Ottawa Police Services on this new announcement to combat auto theft in Ottawa. This government has demonstrated that we will always support our hard working law enforcement, and will give them the tools necessary to fight crime to ensure the people of Ottawa, including my constituents in Carleton, feel safe where they work, live, and play.” Said Goldie Ghamari, MPP Carleton.
ALPR technology does not detect moving violations such as speeding, going through a red light or stop sign, and distracted driving.
In particular, thieves have been targeting sport utility vehicles made by Toyota and Honda.
The Automated Licence Plate Recognition Technology Grant is a one-time grant to help police services strengthen roadside law enforcement efforts and improve public safety across the province.
“This investment further demonstrates our government’s plan to ensure police services across Ontario have the resources and equipment they need to keep our communities safe,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “I am confident that this tool will be a tremendous asset to police services and help them combat incidents of auto theft and enhance public safety.”
The investment in ALPR technology supports Ontario’s recent move to eliminate licence plate renewal fees and stickers for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds by allowing licence plate information to be read automatically without requiring an officer to see a physical licence sticker to validate a vehicle.