One of the more remarkable tools now available to law enforcement and private investigators is the result of new License Plate Recognition (“LPR”) technology. Photographs and videos of vehicles taken in public locations are then paired with LPR software and, voila, a current and historical record can be compiled detailing the exact location of a given vehicle’s sightings over time.
The dramatic applications are easy to imagine. The suspect in a notorious murder case claims that he is completely unfamiliar with the particular place or area where the crime occurred. Lo and behold, LPR data reveals that his vehicle was at that very location three times in the past week. Perhaps the data shows that the suspect’s vehicle was at that spot on the night and at the time of the murder itself. Game, set, match.
But the less dramatic implications of LPR technology are just as exciting for the everyday work of private investigation. LPR data could be decisive in anything from locating an elusive defendant or witness to establishing the final proof of marital infidelity. The new technology possesses an obvious usefulness when it comes to missing persons, asset searches, and criminal defense cases. However, the function and value of LPR data in reality knows very few limits. For example, just picture the industrial espionage case where LPR data establishes that a certain key employee is meeting regularly with a company’s principal rival.
The exact manner in which the raw data (photographs and videos of vehicles) is obtained is, of course, a trade secret. However, it is known that certain private vendors are constantly gathering the information, to the tune of hundreds of millions of sightings already and still counting. An industry leader maintains that its current database contains more than two billion vehicle sightings, and that an additional 50 million sightings are added monthly. It is also likely that law enforcement agencies are contributing the video they capture, for example in connection with regular drive-bys of high risk or suspected locations..
There are limitations, of course. For example, the data will not reflect vehicles parked in non-public locations such as secured lots or gated communities. Nonetheless, in any given investigation, information obtained through LPR technology could be the key to resolution. Moreover, it is absolutely certain that the already substantial raw data that currently exists will only continue to grow, and perhaps by leaps and bounds.
Inter-State Investigative Services takes great pride in being constantly at the forefront of new technology and tools for investigation. If you would like to know more about LPR, and how this technology could be of service to you or your business, please contact us today. We have been in the business of finding the truth for more than 20 years, and no one does it better.