License plate reader system eyed for Richmond BART parking areas

‘Summer Soiree’ heading to downtown Richmond rooftop
Richmond BART parking garage

Richmond BART Station and also El Cerrito del Norte Station have made a list of stations being considered to receive Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) systems aimed at cracking down on crimes such as auto thefts and burglaries.

The BART Board of Directors is scheduled to discuss the potential of installing the surveillance technology at its meeting April 25. Both the Richmond and El Cerrito del Norte stations were considered “priority” sites for the technology given current data on auto thefts and burglaries, the transit agency said.

ALPR systems feature cameras that can capture vehicle license plate images and a portion of the vehicle, with the aim of identifying crime suspects and ultimately preventing crimes from being committed on people or vehicles in BART owned and operated parking facilities. They can either be installed at fixed locations, on BART patrol vehicles or on handheld devices carried by parking enforcement officers.

The use of such technologies increased stolen vehicle recovery by 50-percent across the U.S., according to a 2012 RAND Corporation study.

“ALPR technology increases law enforcement’s ability to recover lost/stolen property and provide evidentiary support for criminal prosecution,” according to BART.

The cost of a fixed ALP Reader is between $15,000 to $22,000 per unit. Installing one system at 16 “priority” stations will cost $352,000, the transit agency said.

Aside from the Richmond and El Cerrito Del Norte stations, others deemed as “priority” for receiving the technology are Fruitvale, Coliseum, San Leandro, Bay Fair, Hayward, South Hayward, Dublin/Pleasanton, North Berkeley, Rockridge, Concord, North Concord, Pittsburg Pay Point, West Oakland, Daly City, and Antioch.

BART staff said the system would include safeguards to ensure the collected data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

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