AST Digital Magazine July/August 2016 - Page 8

Volume 6 algorithms, as is the case with the latest and best technology on the market. Second, most people drive. This fact is supported by a famous 2012 statistic from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which states that 70% of serious crime in the United States is related to a motor vehicle. It is also supported by common sense; it is rare to read a story about a violent crime or terrorist attack in which the perpetrator did not use a motor vehicle to get to, or away from, the scene of the crime. In many cases, the vehicle even becomes the weapon in the attack. Additionally, license plates are extremely difficult to fake. One may reasonably point out that that doesn’t stop the perpetrator from stealing and swapping out a plate to prevent detection; however, even that need not be a concern with the right ALPR solution. The best object-based ALPR technology can determine the make of the vehicle and discern whether the plate attached to it belongs there by checking against appropriate databases. The Rise of Citywide Surveillance As mentioned earlier, the past several years have July-Aug 2016 Edition seen an increasing proliferation of video surveillance technology, among public and private entities alike. Among the most notable are the rise of what are often called Real-Time Crime Centers (RTCCs). These centers centrally control networks of surveillance cameras strategically placed throughout their cities, monitoring incoming data and relaying it to law enforcement as needed. Often, as in the case of St. Louis’ RTCC, these networks include ALPR cameras, which ostensibly enable the centers to detect suspect vehicles and track their movements through the city. Usually, these centers make use of “old-school” ALPR technology, which is dependent upon cameras specially designed for the purpose, cameras which are considerably more expensive than simple surveillance cameras. The added cost of these cameras tends to mean that a relatively small number of them are deployed, severely limiting the ability of ALPR to find and follow persons of interest. Recent years, however, have seen the advent of a “new school” in ALPR that doesn’t require specialized cameras; rather, this software-only technology can perform license plate captures using any of the 8