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RRHA moves forward with license plate reader program

Richmond Police awaiting five devices for installation
Richmond Police plan to place the devices in several areas, including Southwood, Shockoe Bottom...
Richmond Police plan to place the devices in several areas, including Southwood, Shockoe Bottom and RRHA neighborhoods, among others.
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 1:38 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Five fixed license plate readers are on the way to Richmond. Richmond Police plan to place the devices in several areas, including Southwood, Shockoe Bottom and Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority neighborhoods, among others.

“We have to utilize every tool in the toolbox to mitigate deadly situations that may end up with loss of life and unfortunately we have seen that up tick in Richmond,” said Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond.

The Police Chief says these devices are intended to reduce crime, enhance homeland security, assist with Amber alerts, and identify stolen vehicles.

“This is not the solution but I believe it is a part of the solution,” said Angela Fountain, RRHA Spokeswoman.

This week, RRHA approved the installation of the readers. A spokeswoman says residents in those communities want to feel safe.

“To say that our communities are being targeted is simply not true. This is taking place across the city of Richmond,” said Fountain.

But others disagree including the Legal Aid Justice Center.

“What I do not hear is that increased policing and surveillance cameras mean safety for folks who live in RRHA properties,” said Yohance Whitaker, Legal Aid Justice Center Organizer.

The readers cost about $75,000 total and will be covered by a grant from the Department of Justice.

The information will go to the Virginia State Police License Plate Reader program. Police maintain the system only retains plate information when the data pertains to active investigations and intelligence gathering. Other data is purged within 24 hours.

“If this tool is going to help us do that in high crime areas then I support that,” said Mayor Stoney.

Police say locations are still being finalized, but the devices can be moved to other locations as needed.

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