(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David today announced the roll out of Binghamton’s ‘Safe City’ initiative with the first installations of license plate readers at border locations around the city.
“Our police do a great job of catching criminals after crimes occur, but more proactive policing can better prevent big city crime from encroaching on our neighborhoods,” said Mayor David. “This initiative will ultimately deter criminals from setting up shop in Binghamton. We needed a bold new initiative to keep our community safe, as we also work to boost police ranks after years of unnecessary cuts.”
In recent weeks, the City has installed 15 stationary license plate readers, or LPRs, at eight locations to capture and log all license plates entering Binghamton. The license plates are automatically cross-referenced with local, state and federal law enforcement databases, as well as DMV records.
When license plates are scanned, LPR alerts will sound for stolen vehicles, stolen plates, wanted persons, sex offenders or other vehicles of interest in local, state or federal law enforcement investigations. As these vehicles enter Binghamton, alerts sound at police headquarters and in all active patrol vehicles, monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Last week, within hours of the monitoring station becoming active at police headquarters, police received their first significant notification.
On Sept. 12 at 2:28 a.m., an alert was generated for a Ford pickup truck that drove past one of the new stationary LPRs at Main St. and Floral Ave. The truck had been reported stolen from Tennessee. A bulletin was broadcast to all patrol cars to locate the vehicle.
A Binghamton Police patrolman identified the pickup truck on Main Street and engaged in pursuit. The truck then pulled into a driveway on Park Street, and three males fled from the vehicle on foot. Officers were able to create a perimeter and apprehend one of the suspects.
Located in the stolen truck was a loaded .380 handgun, gloves and a black plastic mask.
Kenneth D. Jordan, 17, of Endicott, was charged with:
· Possession of stolen property, 4th degree, Class E Felony
· Criminal possession of a loaded firearm, 2nd degree, Class C felony
Binghamton Police detectives believe the items found in the vehicle, including a loaded handgun, mask and gloves, indicate the suspects may be responsible for other local crimes. The investigation remains ongoing.
The LPRs have also intercepted license plate information from another vehicle that, due to its serious nature, was immediately passed along to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and officials. Due to the sensitivity surrounding the investigation, the City cannot specify the law enforcement organization or level of government involved. Based on a directive from that law enforcement agency, there will not be additional comment or information from the City regarding this specific notification.
The LPRs have also been successful at nabbing unregistered vehicles and parking ticket scofflaws. Since August 30, $4,710 in fines and has been collected as a result of LPR hits. That’s compared to $1,610 that was collected during the entire month of July before the LPR system was in place.
The total cost of the LPR initiative has decreased since Mayor David first provided an estimate in his State of the City Address in February. The City has spent $270,553 on the first phase, which was paid for through the City’s General Fund. Approximately seven additional LPRs and five new locations will be added early next year as part of the final phase, which will cost $130,000.
The Binghamton Police Department will follow the policy issued by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to guide LPR data use and retention. LPR data will be stored for up to five years. The department will follow any legislative or court decisions regarding standardized retention rules that are expected soon, according to Binghamton Police officials.
“In the short time a handful of LPR’s have been active, police have already made an arrest and are generating crucial leads for other law enforcement agencies,” said Mayor David. “You cannot put a price tag on preventing individuals and families from becoming victims of crime. The initiative isn’t even fully operational, but is already having an impact in the City and beyond our borders.”
The LPR program is the latest public safety technology initiative under Mayor David’s tenure. In 2015, 90 body worn cameras were rolled out for all Binghamton Police patrol officers. In 2016, 40 patrol car cameras were installed in Binghamton Police vehicles. The stationary LPRs complement the City’s existing fleet of mobile LPRs attached to patrol cars.
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