Tukwila police to install license plate reading cameras in effort to reduce crime
This file photo shows the Tukwila Police Department responding to a crime. (Photo: Aaron Wells)

The Tukwila Police Department is planning to install 35 automated license plate reading cameras with the goal of reducing crime and locate missing people.

The department said the cameras will not collect personal information such as pictures of drivers or passengers.

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The cameras will instead take a picture of license plates and then send an alert to a law enforcement officer when a stolen car or wanted person is involved. The cameras will also notify authorities if the vehicle is associated with a missing person, Amber Alert or Silver Alert.

According to the police department’s website, seven in 10 crimes are committed involving a vehicle. Tukwila police believe installing the cameras will help solve crimes by providing evidence for investigations, they said. The system used captures license plates and vehicle traits.

KOMO news spoke to people who said they were on board with the idea.

“I think it would be a great idea," said Dustin Berthiaume. "We get car thefts all the time. It’s terrible. We get stuff stolen out of work trucks even. I think it would be a plus. It would be a huge thing for the community here.”

The use of cameras does not apply to minor traffic or parking violations.

“I had my vehicle was stolen five years ago," said David Juhl. "I’ve had my vehicle stolen, I’ve been through that experience, so I know it’s pretty troubling.”

The specific locations for the cameras have not been provided. A spokesperson for the department said they'll be put up in high-traffic areas.

The system will go fully online when installation is done.

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