Scan, Ping, Book 'em Danno

New technology allows officers to find stolen cars simply by scanning their plates

Oceanside Police Department is using a new technology to recover stolen cars.

Officers began using the license plate scanning system about three weeks ago.

The system uses four infrared cameras that are mounted on the car to scan license plates and compare them to a database of stolen cars.

An on-board computer displays the car's photo and sounds an alarm if the car has been reported stolen.

According to an article in the North County Times, Oceanside is one of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including Escondido and Carlsbad that are using the new tool.

A civil rights group warned the technology could be used improperly to monitor law-abiding citizens.

Oceanside's system was bought from UK-based PIPS Technology for about $31,000 with a U.S. Department of Justice grant, department spokesman Sgt. Kelan Poorman said. The department may soon buy a second system, he said.

Check out a video clip of how it works.

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