Province provides Niagara police funding to help address local auto theft

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The near-$2 million grant will be used to upgrade the police force’s Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Regional Police Service

 

The Ontario government is providing the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) $1,956,419 to help combat auto theft in the region. 

The NRPS will use the funding to enhance existing Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology – its system of cameras that automatically scans licence plates. The system is installed in or on active-duty police cruisers and alerts officers to stolen or expired plates, or plates registered to suspended drivers. ALPR technology also notifies officers of missing and wanted persons and vehicles associated with AMBER alerts.

“This upgraded technology will help the Niagara Regional Police Service address growing rates of auto theft and related criminal activity across the region,” said MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff. 

“We are getting the job done by fighting crime and keeping streets safe. It’s what the families of Niagara deserve.”

As alluded to by Oosterhoff, auto theft is on the rise. 

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, the country saw a six per cent increase in motor vehicle theft between 2020 and 2021, the last year full stats are available. 

“We are very pleased by this announcement and thank the Ontario provincial government for this commitment to safer roads and a safer Niagara,” said NRPS Chief Bryan MacCulloch. 

“These funds will enhance the already successful NRPS ALPR program, which has demonstrated that this advanced technology can assist law enforcement in preventing and solving crime, while protecting the privacy of the citizens and visitors of Niagara.”

The Automated Licence Plate Recognition Technology Grant is a one-time grant to help police services strengthen roadside law enforcement efforts and improve public safety across the province. 

The investment in ALPR technology supports the provincial government’s recent move to eliminate licence plate renewal stickers by allowing licence plate information to be read automatically without requiring an officer to see a physical licence sticker to validate a vehicle.

“This investment further demonstrates our government’s plan to ensure police services across Ontario have the resources and equipment they need to keep our communities safe,” said Solicitor General of Ontario Michael Kerzner. 

“I am confident that this tool will be a tremendous asset to police services and help them combat incidents of auto theft and enhance public safety.”

ALPR technology is a system of cameras and supporting software that captures licence plate information and immediately compares plate numbers to a Ministry of Transportation (MTO) database with vehicle and vehicle owner information. It also has the capability of capturing vehicles of interest. 

ALPR technology does not detect moving violations such as speeding, going through a red light or stop sign, and distracted driving.

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