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Canton considers license plate reader to curb retail fraud

Posted at 6:27 PM, Nov 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 18:30:46-05

CANTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — Police in Canton are considering the addition of license plate reading technology.

Police Chief Chad Baugh says this comes after a marked increase in retail fraud in the area. He says they're hoping to use the technology to track down suspects and curb the problem.

"A community like ours has a number of retailers and they’re subject to theft and the theft is often an outcome of drug addiction," said Chief Baugh.

The license plate reading technology would be installed near the traffic light at N Beck Rd and Michigan Avenue. A shopping center with more than a dozen retailers is located right next to the intersection.

7 Action News crews went inside a handful of stores in the retail center Tuesday to ask sales associates about the retail fraud problem. While they said their stores have generally seen little theft, they noted stores like Kohl's and Old Navy see more theft incidents in which police are called.


The reader would be funded through a $40,000 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Chief Baugh says the technology would record the make, model, color, and license plate of the more than 30,000 vehicles that pass through the intersection daily. Police say they can receive alerts when cars of wanted suspects or cars believed to be involved in crimes pass by. Baugh says it can also be used to cross-reference getaway cars in process of retail fraud.

"I’m all for it. I have nothing to hide. If you’re not doing anything wrong, you wouldn’t mind," said shopper Jack Daniels of the proposal.

Daniels went on to say he could see how others in the community would be concerned about privacy issues.

"I personally wouldn’t have a problem with it. If it’s going to help alleviate or get rid of the problem, that’d be helpful," said Connie Floyd while shopping Tuesday.

While some shoppers said they’d support the technology, it has been a point of tension in other communities. In Ypsilantiand Chesterfield Township, community members raised red flags about privacy issues in relation to the technology. Many protestors in these instances say the technology goes too far.

"I think for good reasons citizens would have concerns about where this information is stored. It’s information taken from their vehicles that they drive and they need to understand how it’s used," said Chief Baugh.

Before police move forward, they want to hear from community members. They're hosting a community forum in January where they're hoping to hear the opinions of residents and if they'd be comfortable with the installation of license plate readers. The exact date of that meeting is yet to be determined. More information can be found on CPD's website.

License Plate Readers (LPRs) 11.15.22 by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd