Grapevine, TexasEver pass by an empty police car on Main Street or near the corner of a major intersection and wonder:  Why is that police car sitting there with no one in it?  The answer might be the car is using cameras to scan all the license plates of vehicles that pass by.  Grapevine is one of a few area cities using this technology.

Crime prevention advocates say this technology helps find stolen vehicles and missing persons.  Privacy advocates worry about how the data that is captured will be stored and used.  Other concerns are around who has access to the data.  As of August of last year, Grapevine had no policy on how long to store the data or who had access to it.

According to this article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the cameras were mounted last summer in Grapevine on traffic signals around Grapevine Mills Mall.  Given that the cameras are mobile and there is no policy on where they should go, the license plate scanning cameras could literally be anywhere today.

The cameras were paid for using funds from the Crime Control Prevention Funds which were passed again in a local vote in 2011.  Unfortunately, there was no indication prior to the vote that some of the funds would be used on license plate scanning cameras.

Our search of the city website came up empty in looking for more information on the license plate scanners.

Drive safe out there. 🙂

This article was sponsered by Camping Lake Lewisville.