The Hollywood Police Department is reporting a lot of success with its automated license plate reader and CCTV camera program. Since the program went into effect in the parking area of North Beach in 2016, crime, especially car burglaries and thefts has gone down by about 90 percent in the first quarter of 2017. In 2016, during the first quarter, there were 20 car burglaries and in the first quarter 2017, there were two car burglaries. There had been many vehicle burglaries in the North Beach parking area over the years. Also, the City of Hollywood has placed signs in the parking lot stating that the area is under video surveillance.
Phase one in North Beach has been completely installed. Phase two will soon be installed in downtown Hollywood and phase three will be placed on Federal Highway. Eventually the license plate readers will be placed throughout sections of western Hollywood. The cameras are mounted on police cars, mobile units or on poles. Police officers have access to the reports generated by the cameras, according to Hollywood Police Detective Daniel Justus. Hollywood police also gain information from other cities that have license plate reader programs. They can be on the lookout for stolen cars that might come from other cities.
“We get monthly license plate readouts. It lets you know about stolen vehicles,” said Justus. “If a car is stolen, the license plate is entered into a national data base and it can be tracked as soon as it gets to Hollywood.”
All Hollywood Police Cars have access to license plate readers. An officer on patrol can know immediately if a stolen car is being driven nearby. There is software installation for the license plate readers in all police vehicles. “We have tripled the number of arrests for car thefts. We are focusing on areas that have had many car thefts,” said Justus.
CCTV cameras allow Hollywood Police to observe crime as it is happening. A police officer can watch multiple areas through the CCTV cameras can call dispatch if a criminal act is observed. This program is considered successful.