Metroplex in Plymouth Meeting to be outfitted with license plate readers in agreement between property owner and Plymouth Township

During the July 13th meeting of Plymouth Township’s Council, the council members voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Goldenberg Group, which owns the 47-acre Metroplex in Plymouth Meeting, to install license plate readers on the Metroplex property. In addition, the township and the property owner have agreed to split the annual fee (approximately $12,000) for the license plate readers with the township. Note that there will also be readers in locations around the property as well.

What are license plate readers? From the Brennan Center for Justice:

Auto­matic license plate read­ers use a combin­a­tion of cameras and computer soft­ware to indis­crim­in­ately scan the license plates of every car passing by. The read­ers, which can be moun­ted on station­ary poles, moving police cruis­ers, and even hand­held devices, log the time and date of each scan, the vehicle’s GPS coordin­ates, and pictures of the car. Some versions can also snap pictures of a vehicle’s occu­pants and create unique vehicle IDs. foot­note1_4516­ja86 The devices send the data to ALPR soft­ware, which can compare each plate against a desig­nated “hot list.” Such lists can include stolen cars and cars asso­ci­ated with AMBER Alerts for abduc­ted chil­dren. foot­note2_w5jum7r7 They can also refer­ence vehicles that are listed in local and federal data­bases for reas­ons that may include unpaid park­ing tick­ets or inclu­sion in a gang data­base. foot­note3_zt86ba48 These quer­ies happen auto­mat­ic­ally, though officers can also query plates manu­ally.

If you follow regularly, we have articles on the theft that occurs there on a somewhat regular basis.

After the vote, Plymouth Township’s Chief of Police John Myrsiades stated that this agreement is a good example of the police working with a stakeholder in the community and that the license plate readers will allow the police to keep the residents, business people, and visitors a lot safer.

License plate readers do raise questions in regards to civil rights and liberties. You can read more about that here.