San Francisco city leaders are touting successes seen from recently installed automated license plate reader cameras, noting that the cameras have led to arrests for crimes including organized retail theft, carjacking, robbery, and sexual assault.

“This new technology is just one new tool we are using that is helping us make San Francisco safer for all and it is delivering results,” said Mayor London Breed. “This shows the impact that technology can have in assisting our officers in doing their work and is sending an important message to those who think they can come to our City and commit crimes.”

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), working with Flock Safety, has thus far installed 100 of the 400 planned automated license plate reader (ALPR) cameras. City leaders noted that the remaining 300 cameras are on track to be up and fully operational later this summer. The ALPRs are funded by a $17.3 million grant from the California’s Organized Retail Theft Grant Program.

Even with just one quarter of the total cameras up and running, the city said the new ALPR system is “already delivering significant results” and in addition to helping SFPD make arrests, the cameras are also helping jurisdictions locate those who commit crimes in other cities.

“These cameras have been a massive help to our police department,” said Chief Bill Scott. “I want to thank our officers for their outstanding work. Looking forward, we will be integrating our ALPR network with our other technologies, including technologies voters approved in March under Proposition E, like drones and public safety cameras.”

In addition to the new cameras, the SFPD is now authorized to use drones and other publicly owned public safety cameras in their work. The approval came from Prop E, which was approved by the voters in March 2024. Mayor Breed’s proposed budget includes $3.7 million to implement voter-approved technology. If the funding is approved, SFPD would be able to expand on its plans to install public safety cameras and use of drones.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs