LAPD Uses New Technologies to Fight Crime

February 1, 2005

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department is utilizing three new technological systems to fight crime in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Rampart Area deployed a remote camera surveillance system in the MacArthur Park area. This system was developed by the General Electric and Hamilton Pacific companies. The remote camera surveillance system has been used to identify, track and record criminal activity in MacArthur Park as part of Rampart Area’s Alvarado Corridor Project. Since the installation of the system in January 2004, crime in MacArthur Park and the area immediately surrounding it has been dramatically reduced without the increase of any police officers. Additionally, property values and business revenues have risen, and MacArthur Park is once again a family destination. The project has become a model for public-private cooperation in addressing the needs of municipal police authorities, where the demand for services is outpacing available staffing.
The camera surveillance system is equipped with "intelligent" video capabilities and facial recognition software that will assist with the enforcement of laws in and around the public areas of MacArthur Park. The "intelligent" software identifies human movement within designated areas, thus enabling officers to remotely identify and monitor suspicious activities. If criminal activity occurs, the suspect is kept under remote surveillance while police officers are immediately dispatched to take appropriate action.
The second major technological innovation within Rampart Area involves facial recognition software. This system was developed by Neven Vision, and it works with the camera surveillance system. Facial recognition software has the ability to analyze images of human faces for the purpose of comparison and identification. This software works by digitally capturing images of human faces, and then comparing those facial images with images previously stored in a database. This software allows for the scanning of fugitive suspects within the target area. It can also be deployed in a patrol vehicle to assist in the efficient identification of members of criminal street gangs who have been served with permanent gang injunctions. Arrests, however, are not made solely upon the automatic facial recognition software. The software is used merely as a tool to browse more quickly and efficiently through a potentially large database of facial images. The responsibility to conduct an investigation to confirm the identity of persons, who have been preliminarily identified by the software, remains with the investigating officer. To date, there have been 19 arrests made with the assistance of facial recognition software.
The third and newest, technological application to law enforcement within Rampart Area is an automatic license plate recognition system. This system, called PlateScan, was developed by Civica Software. As with the first two systems, the license plate recognition system has also been deployed in Rampart Area. A patrol vehicle has been equipped with both forward and rear facing video cameras, as well as a mobile data computer. This system has the ability to scan, recognize and process the plates of several hundred cars within a 15 minute period. The license plates are automatically cross-checked in real time against a number of local and national database to identify vehicles that are of interest to law enforcement. The Rampart Area patrol vehicle has been deployed for six days and automatically detected ten stolen vehicles.
The use of these technological innovations are part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s continuing commitment to employ the latest and most efficient law enforcement tools in order to protest all persons within the City of Los Angeles from criminal threat.
This news release was prepared by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section, at 213-485-3586.