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Vehicle Theft Plummets in Richmond


Dear Council Members and City Manager,


Vehicle theft in Richmond is down 31% compared to last year at this same time.  One of the big reasons why is the departmentís use of License Plate Readers (LPRs).  Over a number of months, the department has been testing various LPRs designed by different companies.  We have been strategically deploying officers in different geographic sectors of the community in vehicles with License Plate Readers that link to a database of stolen vehicles from throughout the state that is updated on a daily basis. 


The results are pretty amazing.  In just the past 30 days, for example, officers stopped 5 stolen vehicles that were occupied, leading to arrests in each case.  On a daily basis, officers are recovering 4-5 unoccupied stolen vehicles.   Itís pretty clear the criminals are getting the message.  Auto thefts were down last year and they are way down this year because the thieves know they will get caught in Richmond.  In many cases, we are also tasking drugs and guns off of the individuals we arrest in these stolen vehicles, which is an added bonus.


The use of LPRs is one more example of implementing cutting-edge technology in a carefully planned and well-thought out manner.  Lt. Sappal, Lt. Pickett, Sgt. Silva, and Det. Tong have all played a major role in this project.  Thanks to the City Council for approving the funding for the LPRs and helping us fight crime in this innovative way.


Chief Chris Magnus