Brampton deploying license plate scanning tech for parking enforcement

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A modified City of Brampton enforcement vehicle will start patrolling the city from mid-January with a new automatic license plate reader. The cameras on the vehicle will detect common parking infractions as the vehicle drives by and will notify bylaw officers to generate a Penalty Notice. The vehicle will patrol streets where the City receives frequent complaints of vehicles parked for extended periods of time.

The new technology is intended to improve parking spot availability, support the safe passage of plows and emergency vehicles on Brampton streets, and reduce congestion. Additional enforcement vehicles may be fitted with the new tech based on what is learned from the first vehicle.

This new technology uses cameras attached to the vehicle and an in-vehicle display connected to the parking enforcement network. The vehicle will patrol City streets and record the licence plate and location of vehicles parked on the street. The system will alert the Enforcement Officer of vehicles that are parked for more than three hours without a parking consideration. It will also alert of vehicles parked during the prohibited time of 2 to 6 am, without having the officer stop to enter the licence plate of the vehicle.

The City responds to over 10,000 complaints of vehicles parked illegally for more than three hours, and another 10,000 complaints of vehicles parked on the street during the prohibited time of 2 to 6 am. With the new technology, the City can engage proactively and react at a faster rate. Residents are also encouraged to use the Permission to Park form for instant permission to park on city streets.

Is this a breach of your privacy? According to the City, access to photographs captured by the technology is controlled and subject to audit. Where photographs are not used to issue a Penalty Notice, they are automatically deleted after 48 hours. Drivers in Ontario municipalities are facing an onslaught of technology for safety enforcement including photo radar and school bus mounted cameras.

The technology, referred to as Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) has been deployed by law enforcement organizations for many years now. The use of the technology falls under the plain view doctrine. Neighbourhood Watch Brampton is also investigating the use of ALPR technologies using inexpensive IP cameras as a tool to aid in reporting of neighbourhood nuisances related to vehicle activity.