Border

Feb 8, 2013 9:23 PM by Lupita Murillo

License plate readers checking cars going into Mexico

NOGALES - Federal agents at the port of entry are looking for you.

They recently installed some equipment to get a better idea who is coming across the border at the Dennis DeConcini port in Nogales.

The license plate reader, or LPR, was recently installed in the nation's fourth busiest land port.

12,000 to 18,000 vehicles cross the border into Nogales, Arizona every day.

Christian Perez works in Nogales. He says the newly installed license plate reader technology gives him a sense of security.

"In case my car or in your car gets stolen they'll get it before it goes into Mexico and you'll never get it if it goes into Mexico," he says.

The LPR's are located 100 yards from Mexico and that's all that's needed for agents to look at their BlackBerry to know whether a car has been reported stolen and then catch it before it can leave the country.

Joe Agostini is the assistant port director.

"The system contains law enforcement information crucial not just to CBP but other federal agencies state county and city," he says.

Take an amber alert, for example. The technology can help authorities trying to catch child kidnappers.

"If that person or vehicle tried to come through the port we are going to be able to capture that information and officers assigned to a outbound lanes will be able to read and detain that individual."

If authorities receive a tip from anywhere in the country, Customs and Border Protection agents can follow up and catch the suspect with this new system. "We've got a lot of fugitives we caught stolen vehicles and we caught people that are taking rental vehicles without the authorization from the rental companies."

The program is not without its critics, including some civil rights groups concerned about "Big Brother" collecting data on law-abiding citizens. "We're not collecting data it's data on incidence on vehicles and people that have a record in the system."

Within the year the same technology will be installed at the Mariposa port of entry.

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