Atomatic License Plate reader Cameras and Software

35 Replies

We had police out at a Apartment last night so wished I could have taken a look. We will advise all land only place in public areas with signage. but can see the value of not driving 1 hour just to check up on something. 

I'm curious when you say "license plate readers" what that is to you.  Is the program just designed to capture tag numbers only?  Civilians don't have access to data bases that would give information as to who owns the car, what type of car it is, etc.  That can only be tapped into by law enforcement.  Those data bases are run by every state, and only state agencies have access to them.  Many police cars are equipped with license plate readers as well, but when a tag is run by one of our readers, it tells us if the registered owner is wanted, if the car is stolen, etc.  I hadn't heard of private companies offering something similar I'm curious about that.

Courts have also ruled that there is no expectation of privacy in public or open areas.  It's not a crime if you want to roll up in front of someone's house and snap a photo of the house, or snap a photo of someone just walking down the side walk.  Therefore cameras are fine in all open areas.  I think most people would appreciate having a record if something does happen.  

@Linda Weygant

I agree that networking is the most important thing that we have to remember as investors. Also, we should invest in the communities in which we live and serve. It will reduce the reaction to severe change and build an overall awareness of what the needs are. At the heart of this, we are entrepreneurs.

@Alan DeRossett

The question what is the time frame or speed in which you want to accomplish this.  What is the overall goal for the implementation of the product. 

OpenALPR software allows us to make an image recognition system out of cheap low cost cameras they can use motion capture and read and record the license plate number of Cars. In our case I will input the Allowed Cars in our Complex. ones that have signed a lease and if we have a problem can look at an exception report. Car License plates not authorized. The Police have a Connection to PAlantir holder of All DMV records and can match with stolen cars we can not. But  if we have a problem Police can run the plates of suspicious visits near the time of a crime. We also have the number of Tenants all named in our leases so if someone moves in the extended family we would know how many cars are present.

@Alan DeRossett Just curious if you have plans to develop the ALPR application just for yourself (a single business/HOA solution) or a general purpose solution.

The reason I ask is that my company has plans to investigate a camera implementation for our Greenville NC apartments, using me as the project liason. My preferred implementation is a Raspberry Pi (probably the 3 Model B) equipped with a regular Camera Module v2 and/or an infrared Camera Module v2 (the Pi NoIR). We plan to deploy at entry signage and at the common area 'hot spots' like dumpsters, where non-residents have driven up our expenses by dumping crap at 2AM.

I'd be interested in pooling resources if you are up for it. You can post here or PM/email me if you are interested. My company members and partners own apartments, have degrees in conmputer science and electrical engineering, and we collectively understand the scope of work. Some of us have RPi experience.

Good idea, but more involved and difficult than you may think.

I was involved with the security of a large PHA as a Commissioner, we used cameras and here are some thoughts.

"Security" cameras are still cameras, be aware of videoing where there can be the presumption of privacy, including inside someone's vehicle or home, cameras don't know about windows and you can also in large video.

You can get pinhole or cannon type cameras pretty cheap, you can place them and use an inexpensive transmitter to send video to a nearby recorder, even a camcorder would do. Adjust the camera at traffic entering and another exiting, since you can stop the video frame obtaining a license number is easy .

Local police can assist you in developing a security plan, adopt that in the HOA minutes. A security plan covers more than criminal activity, like access by emergency vehicles, storm warnings, fire drill or where do tenants go, evacuations, if you have shots fired what are tenants to do, etc.

Your security plan is your CYA for liability. 

Now that you have cameras and you're James Bond, you just assumed a higher level of liability in providing safety for your tenants! Who s James Bond going to be?

I'd suggest that owners/HOA board appoint a primary and alternate security officer, their job is to maintain the cameras. They are the only folks with access to the video. To save on tapes/flash drives, find a date like 7 days or better 30 days to retain video, then reuse the device. Depends on your system as a drive may hold a year's worth of video 24/7, cheaper systems don't, so rotate storage.

You need to be professional about filming folks, your security officers are not to discuss or even mention what they might be seeing on video, this is like top secret for James Bond. It should also be confidential as to the times, places of recordings, how video is stored or kept on file.

Adopt a policy that only the appointed person(s) have access to the cameras as well as law enforcement.

Now, you might speak to an attorney about having evidence in your custody. Reason you have that policy is to establish maintenance records so you don't have someone claim that you destroyed or withheld evidence.

Wal Mart will not release security video without a court order, that's because others can use their video to prove a case, like an accident. That puts responsibility on the camera owner, defending the use, maintenance, recordings and accuracy of what is assumed to be viewed.

Here in Mo. we can't just call up a plate number and learn who the owner is along with personal information, so, it's useless to me unless I can prove or show good cause to bring it to the attention of law enforcement. Who makes that call, if you are able to report and don't, you're liable. If you do call  and it's not an illegal act, you can be done for again.

Make sure your camera is properly working! 

Publicly announcing that your area is videoed or secured means that when mom tells her daughter she can go for a walk with her new friend but to stay in that common area, knowing it is secured,  puts the guardian in a position of care, something happens to little Bella and you don't have the video, you may get your clock cleaned in court. 

I suggest you speak to the local police and an attorney and not just assume you can be James Bond without consequences. All in all, I'd say use cameras, but do it wisely, make sure tenants and guests know to smile, but I would not try to instill a greater sense of security, keeping them responsible for any assumptions. 

I just saw there was a second page, LOL, this may have been covered.......oh well....  :)  


Of course, we cannot look up license plates like private spy contractor Palantir. But we can Query our security system what cars drove by between 12:00 am and 5:00 am last night to see who vandals might be. in our case we helped bust some Grafitti vandals tagging our walls with spray paint all Tenants appreciate that we have it and all are notified not to pick their noses in public. So no worries about privacy lawsuits. We just gave the shortlist to police they did investigation license plate lookup and made arrests. BTW the new Wyze Cams start at only $20. cheaper than repainting our walls once a month and cars last longer parked on the street for our Tenents. our system uses the free OpenAlpr code so no one to pay, it reads plates from Smart Cameras and AI converts to Text messages for our Alerts.

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