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New license plate readers helping Northeast Ohio police departments solve crime fast

These cameras are distinctly different than what most may know as speed cameras and will not be used to monitor speed.

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — New license plate readers are aiding Northeast Ohio police departments in the fight against crime.

These cameras are distinctly different than what most may know as speed cameras and will not be used to monitor speed.

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The Richmond Heights Police Department is one of many Northeast Ohio law enforcement agencies that have bought the special cameras specially made to help identify license plates as cars drive through certain areas of the city. These cameras help locate stolen cars to proving a suspect was nearby when a crime happens.

One Richmond Heights officer is surprised the technology hasn't caught on with more departments throughout the area. She told 3News, "I’m surprised that everybody hasn’t jumped in on this. LPRs are super expensive for all of us to be able to afford. And this is a very inexpensive way to get an investigative tool to your city."

The cameras have already started to pay dividends in the pursuit of justice. On June 1, an armed robbery suspect in a stolen car drove by one of the cameras in Richmond Heights and police immediately got a notification. They caught up to the driver who led them on a high-speed chase that eventually led to an arrest by a neighboring police department.

Other departments are seeing success with the cameras as well with bank robbery suspects being apprehended after information caught by the cameras led to the arrests of suspects in Orange and Independence.

In total, at least 49 police departments are using the system including Mentor, Solon, Macedonia, East Cleveland and Brunswick to name a few.

Police hope the cameras will act as a deterrent to crime as more success stories in apprehending suspects become publicly known.

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