Royal Palm Beach License Plate Readers Coming Soon
Cameras will soon be operational at major intersections in Royal Palm Beach, monitoring and recording every vehicle registration number that enters and exits the community.
Village manager Ray Liggins said village engineer Chris Marsh has a subcontractor working on the license plate readers, which are already in use in several Palm Beach County municipalities, including Wellington. , Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.
“It should be done soon,” Liggins said, adding that the project has been criticized as expensive and an invasion of privacy.
“You know what’s expensive?” he said. “The gendarmerie is expensive.
The camera project is expected to cost about $400,000, compared to an overall Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office contract cost of about $8 million per year and $145,000 per deputy.
“These things catch criminals,” Liggins said. “That’s how you catch criminals stealing cars. That’s how you catch people breaking into houses. The number of people who were coming into the community from all over, from north, south, east and west to rob us, break into our cars and steal, this solves this problem, you will not be able to enter or exit the village without passing one of these cameras. These license plate cameras catch the bad guys, they really do.
He said whenever the PBSO has a report of a stolen car or a crime, one of the first resources it turns to is license plate readers.
“They go straight to the cameras, they look and they find. It’s amazing to me, actually,” Liggins said, explaining that when a stolen car’s license plate number is entered into the system, license plate readers pick up the number and send it at PBSO.
Liggins added that the thieves come from all over the community, as well as from within the community. These are often crimes of opportunity, such as those who leave their keys in the car when entering a store.
“These cameras are catching them,” he said, adding that one big cost was powering the cameras because the county was unwilling to share its power sources at intersections with the village.
“There’s a cost to get them all in, but once you’ve done that, you have your annual maintenance costs,” Liggins said, adding that anyone driving on State Road 80 (Southern Blvd.), Okeechobee Blvd., State Road 7, Crestwood Blvd. and Royal Palm Beach Boulevard. will be captured by the cameras. “It’s something that will definitely keep us a safer community.”
He added that having cameras working will be a deterrent to crime as many criminals will be aware of their existence.
Marsh said the camera project is underway, with some installation delays along Southern Blvd. due to Florida Department of Transportation rules that did not allow installation.
“All cameras should be setup and operational within the next two to three weeks,” he said. “We thought we would be able to hook into county power at a lot of these signals, and they didn’t want us to, so we had to install meters with FPL. This increased the cost a bit.
Marsh explained that most of the 28 cameras are installed near signalized intersections.
“The village pays the power bills for all signals on county roads and village roads,” he said. “The agreement they had with FPL was that if they weren’t metered connections, if they were to add another device to that connection, they would have to convert to metered connections.”
This means that Royal Palm Beach had to add a meter to each of these locations with camera feed.
Marsh noted that camera information is shared with several different agencies.
“There is a database located in Miami where this information is transmitted and shared between other law enforcement agencies,” he said, explaining that there is another proprietary database. shared by vehicle return agencies. “This information is also made available to law enforcement. These repo agencies don’t get what law enforcement puts in them.
The information system was set up by Motorola.
“The amount of data that is put into Motorola’s database is very large,” Marsh said. “Majority of repo companies use it, and a lot of law enforcement agencies use it, so it was a good solution to get a lot of data from a lot of different agencies.”
Marsh said the system is useful for issuing amber alerts, as well as for live tracking of vehicles.
“As they move down the road, they can see where they’re heading and set up law enforcement to catch them,” he explained.