WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Chicago Beefs Up Anti-Carjacking Technology

January 08, 2019 - 5:56 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago Police are equipping more of their squad cars with technology designed to crack down on carjackings.

"Technology plays a big part in our transformation," said 19th District Police Cmdr. Marc Buslik.

Mayor Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced on Tuesday morning the addition of 200 more License Plate Readers, or LPRs, that are placed on top of police cars.

The devices allow officers to scan the numbers in seconds and match the data against a list of stolen vehicles.

"This expansion will allow our officers to be more effective in combating carjacking and auto thefts," Johnson said.

"The technology is precise and quite seamless for officers. As police car patrols in their areas, the LPR system provides real time alerts to officers on vehicles that are wanted for a crime or reported stolen.”

Police showed off the technology last April. They say it's helped double the arrests in carjackings. Carjacking totals dropped across Chicago in 2018 following a yearlong spike, and city leaders hope the deployment of a technological tool will help draw those totals down further.

The department currently uses 44 of these plate readers and will add 50 more over each of the next four months, bringing its total to 244.

"To all those people who are stealing cars, carjacking cars, I got a word for you: There's 244 license plate readers coming to the streets of Chicago and they're looking for you,” Emanuel said.

At full deployment, each of the city’s 25 police districts will have at least six of the license plate reader vehicles.