Suffolk hopes to expand license plate readers to combat gangs

BRENTWOOD -

Police across Long Island want to expand the use of license plate readers to crack down on crime, including gang violence.

Suffolk County is currently in the process of purchasing license plate readers that would be permanently installed in fixed positions throughout Brentwood. After last year's series of MS-13 gang murders in Brentwood, $1 million in state money was allocated to combat gang violence. Suffolk Chief of Department Stuart Cameron tells News 12 that he hopes Brentwood is just the start.

"I imagine it's going to be very successful in helping us to fight gang violence in that community, which was its intent," says Cameron. "If it's successful, as we believe it to be, we're going to look for additional funding to put more fixed LPR's in other communities in Suffolk County."

During a meeting of the Suffolk Legislature Thursday, Legislator Kate Browning said she believed there's $30,000 available to install stationary license plate readers throughout Bellport and North Bellport, an area where MS-13 attacked two boys last August. Two of the four boys found dead in Central Islip last week went to Bellport High School.

As police look to expand the use of the license plate readers, they want the public to know that it is illegal to obscure license plates, including using a plastic plate cover.

In the first two weeks of April, Suffolk and state police teamed up to crack down on drivers who shield their license plates. They issued more than 1,300 tickets.

Each fine costed more than $200.
 

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