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License Plate Reader and Historical LPR Data Used in Homicide Investigation

February 17, 2016  | 

An agency used its Vigilant Solutions mobile license plate reader (LPR) to develop a lead in a difficult homicide case. The agency then used Vigilant's historical and commercially available LPR data to locate the suspect vehicle.

Due to the ongoing investigation, the agency name and certain details of the case have been omitted at the agency's request.

A spokesperson for the agency explains, "Our victim was found deceased at an intersection here in the City. He had suffered a severe brain injury from a fractured skull. The investigation revealed that the victim did not know anyone in the immediate neighborhood, and our homicide detectives did not know how he arrived at this location. Interviews with family members revealed that he was last seen alive at his home on the prior day. The victim's vehicle was missing from his residence.

"Investigators queried the victim's license plate number in Vigilant's LEARN system and quickly determined that one of our patrol vehicles equipped with a Vigilant LPR system scanned the victim's plate only hours before the homicide in the downtown entertainment district less than two miles from where the body was found.

"The victim's vehicle was located and we searched for any evidence that may assist in the case. Locating the victim's vehicle also allowed investigators to obtain video from surrounding surveillance cameras which showed the victim walking into and out of a nearby bar. A further search of surveillance video allowed investigators to obtain images of the victim being placed into another vehicle and leave the area. It was believed that this vehicle transported him to the area where his deceased body was found.

"The suspect vehicle was eventually identified, and investigators used Vigilant's historical LPR data to obtain previously scanned images of the suspect vehicle for comparison to the images captured on the city surveillance video from the night of the homicide. During the comparison, investigators were able to see some identifying characteristics on the vehicle which helped confirm it was the correct vehicle. Using the historical LPR data also provided investigators with information on where to best locate the suspect vehicle. Two suspects were identified in the homicide, and the investigation is ongoing."

Tom Joyce, Vice President of Product Development for Vigilant Solutions and retired Cold Case Commander from NYPD, comments, "This is a textbook example of solid investigative work on the part of the agency to use anonymous data sources like LPR and surveillance video to develop leads. We applaud the agency and wish them well in bringing the responsible individuals to justice."

About Vigilant Solutions

Based in Livermore, CA, Vigilant Solutions is a pioneer of innovative intelligence solutions that help law enforcement protect officers, families, and communities. For additional information, visit

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