City Collects US$3 Million with License Plate Recognition

Since employing the Mobile Plate Hunter-900 license plate recognition system by ELSAG North America one year ago, New Haven, Connecticut tax collector C.J. Cuticello claims to have pulled in US$2.6 million in revenue owed to the municipality. The MPH-900 is a camera system, usually mounted to a law enforcement vehicle that captures images of license plates and cross-references them with a database for sought-after vehicles. It is most commonly used to recover stolen vehicles.

In light of today's economy, communities and law enforcement agencies are tightening their belts across the board. ELSAG North America has developed a tool that enhances the capability of officers in the field and is able to generate revenue for their communities. ELSAG North America's MPH-900 has multiple applications beyond recovering stolen vehicles.

New Haven's was one of the first tax collectors to recognize the potential of the MPH-900 in reference to their work. Cuticello first began exploring the idea and implementation of license plate recognition technology in 2004 to aid his office. As he researched more about the technology he concluded that ELSAG's MPH-900 was the best in the business. In the past year, using the MPH-900, his office has collected $2.6 million in back taxes, tickets and penalties.

"As a tax collector and somebody who is really enthusiastic about technological advancements, I am thrilled with ELSAG North America's MPH-900,” Cuticello said. “It has made my job much more efficient and even more exciting.”

The New Haven Tax Collector's office inputs the license plate numbers of scofflaws who owe the city tax money into a database that is cross-referenced by the MPH-900 system in the field. They currently have four cars with this camera system that simultaneously read all license plates that the vehicle comes across in a 360-degree radius. The system alerts the driver when it identifies a license plate that is in the database. The driver then calls in the information of the vehicle's whereabouts and verifies that it is in fact a tax evader. The office subsequently arranges to have the vehicle towed and alerts the local police of their actions. When the offender realizes that their car is missing and notifies the police, the police then explain why the vehicle has been apprehended and its whereabouts. The police then direct the person to Cuticello's office where they must settle all of their fines at once and in cash before being allowed to reacquire their vehicle.

The New Haven team works with the police by alerting them if they have an Amber Alert plate or a serious offender outside the realm of tax evasion.

"We love to see our clients pleased with the MPH-900, especially when they get creative with its applications,” said Mark Windover, President and CEO of ELSAG North America. “Our job is to make our clients more successful at their job catching the bad guys on the street, and it is very rewarding."

New Haven is not the only municipality to be using the MPH-900 to this end. However, it is one of the first ,as it immediately recuperated the cost of the MPH-900 and have reclaimed millions of dollars for their city.

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