CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WEEK) – A man was arrested after police said he punched a woman then dragged her into a vehicle thanks to new license plate reading cameras. It happened in Bloomington, where nine more cameras are being installed. These new cameras have also helped solve numerous cases in Peoria.
“When you look at this case, without the automatic license plate reader we may not have been able to locate the victim. We may not have been able to locate the suspect and make an arrest and hold them accountable,” said Sgt. John Fermon with Bloomington Police.
Thursday night, Fermon said a man punched a woman in a store on the West Side and then dragged her into a car and drove away.
“All this happened within an hour that we were able to locate the vehicle, make an arrest,” said Fermon.
Police arrested 37-year-old Louis Wiggins. Fermon said Wiggins drove past one of their cameras and it took a picture of his license plate and they were able to track him down.
Fermon said they are in the process of installing nine more of the cameras around the city.
“We already selected locations where we’re going to put them up, but they could change,” said Fermon.
Bloomington Police have seen results for one case after it was installed this week.
In Peoria, Captain of Investigations John ‘Matt’ Briggs said the cameras helped 19 cases in about a month.
“We’re using them a lot for other investigations as well, but those 19 for sure have come to a conclusion based upon LPR,” said Briggs.
He said some of those cases included burglaries, stolen vehicles, missing persons cases, hit and runs, arson and sexual assault.
“It’s being used exactly how we thought it would. It’s being used for criminal offenses and public safety,” said Briggs.
Both departments said staffing has been a concern, but this tool is cutting down time spent on solving crimes.
“It saves a lot of staffing hours, you’re not pouring through hundreds of hours of videos, you have it instantly you can search through vehicle model, different color cars,” said Fermon.
While Briggs says Peoria is ready for more cameras –
“There is tons of other areas in the city I think they would be highly useful,” said Briggs.
Fermon says Bloomington is still waiting for the installment of their initial purchase.
“Right now we’re sticking with our 10, we’re going to have a conservative approach with it and then kind of see where it’s at,” said Fermon.
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