The Dunwoody City Council recently approved purchasing 16 license plate readers to be placed primarily in the Perimeter Center area.

The council approved in May a contract with Georgia Power to buy 16 license plate readers, or LPRs, for just over $189,000 and with a monthly maintenance cost of roughly $4,800. The money is coming out of the Police Department’s $300,000 budget to purchase cameras.

LPRs can be mounted to utility poles and streetlights. They are high-speed, computer-controlled cameras that capture all license plate numbers that come into view, along with the location, date and time. The data includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers is uploaded to a central server to be accessed by officers.

Georgia Power is responsible for installing the cameras, their maintenance, training officers on how to use and connecting to the department’s current IT system, according to Chief Billy Grogan.

Georgia Power recently began its SiteView program to serve local municipalities. Its pilot program was started in 2017 in Brookhaven.

Grogan said in a memo that 80% percent of the city’s Part 1 crime in 2018 occurred in the Perimeter Center area, an increase of 2.1 percent from 2017. Part 1 crimes include aggravated assault, rape, murder, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.

Grogan also stated that 86% percent of the people arrested by the Dunwoody Police Department last year were non-residents.

“By deploying these LPR devices in the areas experiencing the most crime, we can make a significant impact in reducing crime,” Grogan stated in the memo to the council.