HPD Puts More "Focus" on Would-Be Thieves

November 2, 2007 - The Houston Police Department has placed another state-of-the-art crime fighting tool into the hands of numerous patrol officers within each patrol division. The Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) system has been installed in various patrol vehicles throughout the city. This new technology is designed to help law enforcement combat auto thefts and other serious crimes.

HPD and the Mesquite Police departments are the only two law enforcement agencies in the State of Texas currently deploying this technology.

ALPR is equipped with six cameras pointed in various directions that automatically read vehicle license plates crossing the path of the cameras mounted on the patrol car. The information is then fed into a database that alerts a patrol officer instantly if a vehicle has been reported stolen, has traffic warrants, or is a wanted vehicle in other serious crimes (such as Amber Alerts).

Officers driving Houston highways, residential areas, parking lots and other high vehicle traffic areas are able to check license plates at a faster pace as opposed to having to manually type the plate numbers into the computer. ALPR will increase officer's safety by allowing the officers to become aware of whether the vehicle is stolen or wanted or whether the occupant(s) are wanted prior to stopping the vehicle.

HPD is seeking various grant funding and private donations from local business owners to purchase additional license plate readers.

The Houston Police Department is continuing to use technology to make the city of Houston safer for all its citizens. "Auto thieves and criminals beware," said HPD Chief Harold Hurtt.


For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.