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Under the "automatic license plate recognition" project, once a car enters Medina, a camera captures its license-plate number. Within seconds, the number is run through a database.
If a hit comes up for a felony — say, the vehicle was reported stolen or is being driven by a homicide suspect — the information is transmitted instantaneously to police, who can "leap into action," said Police Chief Jeffrey Chen.
The city's population was 2,969 at the 2010 census. The city is mostly residential and includes Bill Gates' house.
Medina has the second highest per-capita income in the state of Washington and the 49th highest in the United States.
"Some people think [that number of burglaries] is tolerable," he said. "But even one crime is intolerable."
All captured information is stored for 60 days — even if nothing negative turns up, he said. That allows police to mine data if a crime occurs later, Chen said.
According to a 2012 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $88,073, and the median income for a family was $104,839. The per capita income for the city was $48,719. In 2006, Bellevue was rated one of the 25 safest cities in America, based on the per-capita incidence of violent crime.
Doug Honig, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, said such a system smacks of privacy violations.
"Government shouldn't be keeping records of people's comings and goings when they haven't done anything wrong," he said. "By actions like this, we're moving closer and closer to a surveillance society."
Medina City Councilmember Lucius Biglow said crime prevention "outweighs concern over privacy."
"Privacy is considerably less nowadays than it was, say, 50 years ago," he said. "I think most of us are pretty well-documented by the federal government ... simply because of the Internet and credit cards."
originally posted by: hutch622
a reply to: hopenotfeariswhatweneed
Here in south Australia there are also stand alone fixed cameras doing the same things . You can avoid them if you dont mind the extra journey .