How many vehicles have been stolen without a trace?

How many people have lost their lives during a carjacking?

How many families have been thrown into misery by the loss of a loved one through violent crime?

How many people have been kidnapped?

How many banks have been robbed?

How much of these crimes have been successfully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice?

Research shows that over 70% of violent crime resulting in loss of life, involves a motor vehicle. Hence the critical factor for successful intelligence gathering and effective investigation is a database of vehicle license plate data collected on the go.

Law enforcement agencies in some jurisdictions have for long, identified this critical success factor for conclusive crime investigations, and hence invested in the deployment of Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) networks.

What is an ALPR network? –

An ALPR network comprises – Automatic License Plate Readers installed at critical traffic junctions or traffic choke points within a city or community. The readers are installed in such a way that they cover major vehicular traffic entry and exit points of the city or community. This enables effective detection of license plate data for every vehicle that enters or exits the city or community with additional info relating to the vehicle such as – position where vehicle license plate data was detected (Longitude and Latitude ) , when vehicle was detected (time and date stamp), image of the vehicle enabling identification of vehicle model and color.

With this type of data at the disposal of law enforcement teams, they are better able to investigate crime by;

·         Running basic search on any vehicle to determine whether or not it’s a vehicle of interest.

·         Tracing the travel route of vehicles of interest.

·         Tracing historical routes travelled by such vehicles over time durations of interest such as – within the last 24hrs, within the past week, within the past month and as far back as available license plate detections can allow.

·         Proactively implementing Geo-fences using ALPR- which is able to alert law enforcement teams when a vehicle of interest drives through established perimeters of interest.

·         Determining associations between vehicles of interest and other vehicles to establish collaboration.

In jurisdictions where ALPR has been implemented, testimonials show a rapid reduction in crime rate, high rates of successful closure of investigations into crime, safer communities and increased rate of recovery of stolen vehicles.

So is Nigeria ready for ALPR?

I started this essay with a few questions and you will agree with me that our record as a nation in this regard is abysmal. Criminals are having a filled day leveraging on lack of infrastructure and poor funding of the Nigerian Police force. At different times the force has shown brilliance in resolving crime in spite of limitations in funding and availability of modern technology. The performance of Nigeria Police Force equipped with ALPR should therefore be the desire of every Nigerian.

Chidiebere Anosike is a Telecom/ICT consultant with Ingres Quality Rollouts Limited.
Twitter – @ingresqr