Mayor Breed Signs Public Safety Legislation to Install 400 New Automated License Plate Readers

Public Safety cameras can now be installed at 100 intersections in San Francisco to combat organized retail theft, motor vehicle theft, and other critical public safety needs
January 12, 2024

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed signed legislation on Thursday to allow the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to begin installing 400 Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR) to address public safety issues in San Francisco.  

The legislation Mayor Breed signed funds the new ALPR cameras, and with the law change signed by the Mayor in December, SFPD can now begin the process of installing 400 new ALPR cameras at intersections across San Francisco.

To ensure the cameras are installed as quickly as possible, Mayor Breed has directed her staff and departments to cut through red tape and any unnecessary delays. This includes working directly with the SFMTA and SFPUC, both of which have existing pole infrastructure that can be used to mount the cameras.    

“We are making progress disrupting crimes and we are sending a message that San Francisco is not tolerating criminal activity of any kind,” said Mayor London Breed. “While we are continuing to build back our police force, it’s the smart thing to do to incorporate technology that supports the hard work our officers do every day to take care of our city and arrest those who think they can break the law in San Francisco. These license plate readers can play a critical role in disrupting retail theft, car break-ins, sideshows, and other criminal activity.”  

“Installing a network of Automated License Plate Readers across the city will greatly assist our officers in keeping San Francisco safe,” said Chief Bill Scott. “These cameras will be a force-multiplier, helping our hard-working officers to identify vehicles used in crimes and to apprehend offenders more quickly and precisely. I want to thank Mayor London Breed for her work to streamline and expedite this process, so we can begin using this technology immediately.”

“Automated license plate readers will help make San Francisco safer for all residents,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “Implementing this technology as quickly as possible will provide a powerful deterrent for criminal activity and investigative tool for law enforcement and prosecutors in the courtroom.”

 Law signed Thursday --> Retail Theft Grant: Providing 400 New License Plate Readers 

The legislation the Mayor signed yesterday enacts a state retail theft grant San Francisco was awarded by the State. That $ 17.3 million in grant funding from the State of California’s Organized Retail Theft Grant Program, administered by the Board of State and Community Correction, provides funds to local law enforcement agencies across the state to combat organized retail theft. The SFPD has been awarded $15.3 from the Organized Retail Theft Prevention Grant Program and the District Attorney’s Office is being awarded $2 million from the California Organized Retail Theft Vertical Prosecution Grant Program.   

In addition, this money pays for essential equipment and vehicles to enhance operations as part of our organized retail theft and catalytic converter theft strategy. This includes 400 Automated License Plate Readers which target criminal activity, not people, and helps to secure objective evidence as part of Mayor Breed’s work to advance intelligence-led policing in San Francisco. It also funds personnel and crime analysis.

Thursday’s signing follows on a separate law the Mayor authored and passed through the Board of Supervisors to give SFPD the authority to use this important public safety tool.  

Building Progress on Public Safety

This new tool will help San Francisco continue to make progress on public safety, as it did during the most recent holiday season. Between November 20, 2023, and January 1, 2024, compared to the same time period the year before, San Francisco saw a:

  • 48% reduction in larceny theft (includes retail theft and auto break-ins)
  • 17% reduction in motor vehicle theft
  • 26% reduction in burglaries

Read more about Mayor Breed’s work around public safety here.