There will be no cameras recording the license-plate numbers of all vehicles passing through Portola Valley anytime soon, though other crime-fighting measures may be ahead.
After two community forums and several presentations on the idea of fixed license-plate-reading cameras located at the town's key entrances and exits, the Town Council on April 8 chose to wait and see. Other Peninsula communities may install fixed cameras and the results may be useful in determining whether they are instrumental in reducing crime, council members said.
The idea had been endorsed by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office as one tool for fighting property crime in town. The council's input on the topic included a presentation from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center on the value of having a record of license plates when looking for suspects in crimes such as burglaries and kidnappings.
Council member concerns includes the estimated cost of at least $172,000, the length of time the license plate data would be retained, privacy in a era of surveillance, and options that have not been explored, such as more frequent patrols by deputies.
Town staff will be coming back to the council in a year to report on any new developments.