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Greenburgh PD Aims to Catch Car Thieves

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The Greenburgh Police Department is looking to purchase five new stationary license plate readers to be placed in high-crime areas around the community.

The Greenburgh Town Board delayed approving the capital budget until the end of the year, so Town Supervisor Paul Feiner expects that the license plate readers will be purchased and installed in 2012.

The cameras take pictures of every license plate that comes into view, averaging 20 photos per second, said Greenburgh Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo. The pictures are linked to the New York State Information System's database, which has a connection to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"We're trying to push for more technology in the department," said Lieutenant Brian Ryan, commanding officer of the Special Investigations Unit. "It's a useful tool for us."

The newer technology allows police to catch cars that have been flagged, including those with expired registrations and, most importantly, stolen vehicles. In the case of a burglary, the license plate readers can aid in catching the get-a-way car.

"In my career, stealing cars is a crime that has gone down," said DeCarlo, who has been on the force since 1977. "When I first started, there were many more stolen vehicles. This technology makes cars harder to steal. This is a great tool that we've had success with."

Greenburgh currently has two mobile license plate readers placed at opposite ends of the town that can travel when needed. The five new stationary readers would be positioned throughout Greenburgh in areas where crimes have been committed repeatedly.

The new license plate readers are expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000, said Lt. Ryan.

Thefts are prone to happen to cars that have valuables left in plain sight, said Lt. Ryan. Items in high demand are GPS units, laptops, cell phones, cameras and iPods. Lt. Ryan encourages residents to take their valuables out of the car or place them in the trunk and out of view.

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