Local News

March 30, 2013

New traffic cameras to combat crime

PLATTSBURGH — Construction will start soon on infrastructure for license-plate-recognition cameras in the City of Plattsburgh that will help authorities fight crime both locally and nationally.

The cameras will be used mainly to detect vehicles with suspended registrations, Plattsburgh City Police Capt. Michael Branch said.

The roughly $44,000 in funding for the two automatic license-plate readers and their installation comes from the High-Intensity Drug-Trafficking Areas program, run by the White House Office of National Drug Control, said Plattsburgh City Police Capt. Michael Branch.

Clinton and Franklin counties were named two of 28 High-Intensity Drug-Trafficking Areas nationwide a few years ago.

The readers will be located on Interstate 87 south's Exit 38 off-ramp, which connects to Boynton Avenue and North Catherine Street in the city. They use optical recognition to take pictures of the license plate of each car as it drives into the field of vision and converts the picture to a computer-coded text, he said.

"It's instantaneous."


Infrared light makes it possible for the cameras to work both day and night. They can record the images at a rate of about one per second for vehicles traveling at up to 100 miles per hour, according to ELSAG North America, the company that makes them.

These will be the first devices of their kind in the City of Plattsburgh.

Branch said they should be in operation by June.


The cameras will be placed in a strategic location, about 150 feet before the traffic light on the off-ramp, so they can read the license plates of cars that will be driving straight or turning right or left, Branch said.

They will transmit the data they collect back to the Plattsburgh City Police Department, which will then send it to the High-Intensity Drug-Trafficking Areas' New York/New Jersey office, he said.

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