Atherton police are heralding the installation of 21 automated license plate readers in town as a success and are inviting residents to a meeting Wednesday, Dec. 9, to discuss the new program, as well as recent burglaries in town and crime prevention over the holidays.
Police first proposed the idea to install cameras in town in response to a rash of 20 residential burglaries over a four-month period between November 2018 and February 2019.
Town police tested two automated license plate readers made by Flock Safety in Holbrook-Palmer Park earlier this year. Automated license plate readers (ALPRs) are mounted on police cars or on fixtures such as road signs and bridges. There were already public safety cameras at Holbrook-Palmer Park, and new police vehicles are equipped with ALPR cameras as part of their existing dashboard cameras.
"Our top priority is keeping our residents safe while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars," said Atherton Police Chief Steve McCulley in a Dec. 2 press release. "Flock's ALPR technology allows us to do both. We intend to use this technology to quickly identify the perpetrators of violent crime and other crimes. When a crime occurs in Atherton, we will use this technology to identify any suspect vehicles as well as the suspects."
The town's police blotter shows records of burglaries in town on Oct. 1, Oct. 11, Oct. 30, Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. Police confirmed there were five residential burglaries and one attempted residential burglary in town since Oct. 1. Of the five residential burglaries, two of them were bicycles taken from auxiliary structures.
In May, the City Council approved buying Flock Safety automated license plate readers for a cost of $2,000 each, starting in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which began July 1. Four will be installed on Middlefield Road; four on Alameda de Las Pulgas; two on Valparaiso Avenue; one on Marsh Road; two on Atherton Avenue; two on Selby Lane; and one at Ringwood Avenue and Bay Road, according to a report prepared by staff for the meeting.
The Dec. 9 meeting takes place at 7 p.m. on Zoom.