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Evaluating the Crime Control and Cost-Benefit Effectiveness of License Plate Recognition (LPR) Technology in Patrol and Investigations

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $553,713)

The project will consist of analyzing the impact of technology on the police, the use of License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology by law enforcement, and build knowledge and improve evidence-based patrol and investigative operations. This two-year project will consist of four major components: (1) A national survey of 400 police agencies on LPR adoption, deployment, data, and effectiveness; (2) an experimental evaluation of an agency with a large scale LPR deployment in crime hot spots testing directed, proactive, place-based, problem-oriented and focused deterrence patrol with and without the use of LPR; (3) an exploratory analytic assessment of LPR use for investigations that will prospectively track investigative uses of LPR and documents outcomes such as case clearances and shortening time to case closure; and, (4) cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses of the patrol and investigative uses of LPR.

The proposed survey will provide updated information on the use of LPR with a much larger sample of agencies using LPR relative to earlier surveys and will identify potential agencies for the evaluation of LPR deployment in one police agency. The experiment will focus on the use of LPRs by general patrol or specialized mobile units and will test the effectiveness of LPR v. non-LPR use in the context of geographically-focused and problem-oriented policing-i.e., police efforts focused on small areas or very specific places (e.g., addresses, intersections, or street blocks) where crime is concentrated. The survey will also identify an agency to participate in an exploratory experiment that will document the choices that officers make in using LPRs to proactively patrol hot spots to better understand LPR use in patrol and develop guides for further use of LPR in the context of evidence-based approaches. A final component of the experiment will be to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of LPR use in patrol that will compare program outcomes relative to program costs.ca/ncf

Date Created: September 12, 2013