The state of New Jersey is using $10 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan’s State Fiscal Recovery Fund to invest in automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.
The state will use the funds to purchase, as well as expand its existing infrastructure of, high-speed automated camera systems at both fixed locations and on mobile units that are able to “capture and store computer-readable images of license plates in a centralized database accessible to law enforcement.”
“The alarming uptick we are seeing in vehicle theft is unacceptable, and our administration is making investments to combat these occurrences statewide,” Gov. Murphy said in the announcement. “To aid law enforcement in this endeavor, an investment in ALPR technology will provide them with the tools they need to reduce these incidents and make our communities safer.”
According to Murphy’s office, New Jersey has seen a stark rise in vehicle thefts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The state reported a five-year high in vehicle thefts in 2021 and, through the first quarter of 2022, is reportedly on track for a 53 percent increase in vehicle thefts from 2020.
“The allocation of these financial resources to increase the use of automated license plate reader technology is, quite simply, a game changing moment in terms of our investigative capabilities,” Colonel Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said. “This investment will undoubtedly help combat the growing number of motor vehicle thefts.”
The program will allot funding to the New Jersey State Police to put ALPR cameras on the major roadways throughout the state. The remaining funding will be available to counties and local law enforcement to put ALPR cameras in their communities through a competitive process.