License plate reading cameras coming to Providence streets in pilot program

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Twenty-five license plate reading cameras may soon be coming to the streets of Providence.

The city is eyeing the idea of installing Flock Cameras, which take photos of vehicles and license plates in order to help combat crime.

ABC6 News caught up with Council President John Igliozzi and Mayor Jorge Elorza on Wednesday, who are both in support of the proposal.

The cameras are owned by the company Flock, and are being given to the city for free as part of a one-year pilot program. The city would only pay for the 25 cameras if they decide to pursue the program after the trial is up.

Officials compared the camera technology to other tactics used, going back decades, like body-worn cameras and tasers.

“This is the next step in us incorporating technology,” Mayor Elorza said.

“Many cities throughout the country are using it. It’s been extremely effective, while at the same time, protecting civil liberties.”

While several organizations, including the Rhode Island ACLU, have shared concerns about how the cameras impact driver privacy, Providence officials assured them that the cameras will ultimately make the streets safer.

“It’s imperative that the people of Providence feel safe and comfortable in their neighborhood,” said Council President Igliozzi.

“And to all the folks that are concerned about the civil liberties issues, this is something that we’ve had a lot of questions about and I believe that our policy will protect all of those legitimate concerns,” said Mayor Elorza.

City council will hold a resolution on Thursday to iron out the details. So far, four City Councilors oppose the implementation of the cameras until they’re properly vetted.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island