Oakland car owners are going to extreme lengths to protect their vehicles, following a surge in vehicle break-ins in the East Bay area. To prevent extensive damage to their property, they are clearing out the interior of their car before leaving their doors and trunks wide open in broad daylight, to persuade thieves that there’s no point in targeting them.
San Francisco has seen a 32% boost in car break-ins over the past 12 months, with Oakland reporting a 27% increase. Libby Schaaf, the Mayor of Oakland urges, “I’m asking private property owners to consider purchasing security cameras, pointing one towards the street and registering it with your local police department.”
One of the best security systems you can use to monitor this type of crime is license plate reader software. This guide will discuss how this type of technology works and the 5 best license plate readers available.
What is license plate reader software?
License plate readers or LPR cameras use high-resolution sensors to scan every vehicle license plate that enters or exits the area. If a security incident occurs, you can easily search video surveillance footage and trace an event back to the specific vehicles present at the time.
Why choose dedicated LPR cameras over normal video surveillance?
If you already have video surveillance systems in place, you might be wondering if you need specialist license plate readers too. The truth is that most video cameras aren’t able to capture the detail from license plates, due to:
- IR Bounce back which is what happens when the Infrared light bounces off the plate and “blinds” the camera
- The movement of the vehicle which a normal camera doesn’t have the shutter speed to follow
- Weather conditions including sun glare, fog, or storms
- Poor lighting at dusk or during the night
- The angle of the plate
With the exception of some powerful IP cameras, it’s always best to invest in LPR systems. Also, when you use license plate recognition software, you can put control measures in place to white-list or watch-list specific license plates as an extra level of security.
Who needs license plate recognition software?
Most property owners or supervisors can benefit from using license plate reader software, especially in high-crime or high-traffic areas. However, you’ll typically see LPRs in action in some of the following situations:
- Police Stations – this helps to track the movements of known offenders and who they might be associating with.
- Parking Lot Security – know exactly which vehicles are entering and exiting your business premises.
- Student Campuses – campus police use LPRs to enforce parking rules and also to protect against school and college shootings or other campus crimes.
- Gated Communities – license plate readers help to protect local residents and identify any driver who might be speeding through an area where children are playing.
- Apartments – if a crime takes place in a residential apartment block, security can pinpoint exactly which vehicles were present during the window of the incident.
- Restaurant Drive-Through Windows – to offer a quick and streamlined service for customers.
- Construction Sites – use license plate reader cameras to reduce vandalism and the theft of raw materials and equipment.
What are the 5 best license plate readers in the market?
Safe and Sound Security offers a range of license plate reader software to suit your individual security strategy. We consider the following to be the 5 best LPRs in the industry.
Verkada uses a dual-camera system – the zoom capability of Verkada’s telephoto bullet camera, which is then paired with the context camera providing additional video evidence at a wider angle. The benefits of Verkada LPRs include:
- Greater than 95% plate detection accuracy
- An integrated feed of all license plate events
- Easy license plate search across LPR cameras
- Ability to filter vehicles based on location and time.
- Real-time ‘license plate of interest’ alerts via SMS or email
The AXIS license plate verifier is ideal in free-flowing traffic of up to 70km/h or 45mph.
To get started, install the analytics on a compatible Axis camera and set up the camera with a connected I/O port to the vehicle barrier’s relay. If you want to control entry to your parking lot, you can enter a list of plates and define allow or block action rules for each of them. Other benefits of the AXIS LPR system include:
- Customized kits available
- Thumbnail images of license plates for easy admin
- Low bandwidth and low storage solution
- Can integrate with network video system to activate lights, trigger audio messages, and open/close doors.
3. Flock Safety
Flock Safety is already used in over 1,500 cities to help businesses and local law enforcement. It’s not technically video surveillance, but it does use patented Vehicle Fingerprint™ technology to make sense of captured evidence and turn it into searchable queries including:
- Vehicle make, type, or color
- License plate details (including missing or covered plates and state info)
- Unique vehicle features such as roof rack, window stickers, or bumper stickers
It also provides audio links including the sound of screeching tires, breaking glass, or gunshots to give you a complete picture. Finally, you can use Flock Safety for contextual evidence including timestamps and how many times the vehicle has been seen over the last 30 days.
Hikvision isn’t without controversy, as the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prevented the federal government and anyone else involved in national security from investing in surveillance cameras made in five Chinese factories – this includes Hikvision security products.
However, Hikvision offers excellent automatic number plate recognition software to be used in the following areas:
- Entrance/exit management or barrier control
- VIP list or blacklist notifications
- Post-event investigation for security professionals
- Toll management at parking lots and busy highways
Using deep machine learning algorithms and GPU processors, Hikvision is adept at learning number plate information within a given scene and can identify a higher number of vehicles at once than other products in the market.
Avigilon isn’t the most affordable license plate reader technology available, but it has an intuitive user interface and is worth every cent when it’s paired with the brand’s ACC™ analytics software, which:
- Links to live and recorded video
- Can be used to create watchlists
- Helps you find specific captured license plate videos for verification and investigation.
Avigilon is easy to use, but customers can also regional and country support as required throughout North America, as well as Europe, Japan, the UK, and Australia.
Setting up your license plate reader software
Are you ready to take your security strategy to the next level? If you already have security cameras in place, then check to see if they’re powerful enough to accurately capture license plate details.
If not, Safe and Sound Security are here to help. We can advise you on the best license plate reader software for your individual needs.
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