Brentwood to install license-plate readers to fight crime amid recent killings

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Eyewitness News reporter Darla Miles reports from Brentwood.

Officials say a Long Island city is installing dozens of license-plate readers to help investigators collect key data amid a string of brutal killings
in the city.

Officials say about 50 cameras will be placed at roughly 20 locations throughout Brentwood.

"What our community has gone through in the last couple of months has been very challenging," said Assemblyman Phil Ramos, NYS 6th District.

Perhaps it's the biggest challenge Brentwood has ever faced, five teenagers and one adult, all believed to have been beaten to death by gang members.

"It is not just our goal to solve these murders, these crimes that have taken place here, but to decimate the gangs," said Steven Bellone, Suffolk County Executive.

On top of an increased police presence and 30 recent gang arrests, Suffolk County will now use a $1 million state grant to buy special cameras called license plates readers, like they already use in Freeport.

"We believe this will help us clear cases, and we believe that this will help us prevent crime," said Timothy Sini, Suffolk County Police Commissioner.

Suffolk County already has about 30 license plate readers, like the ones installed on the back of patrol cars.

The new ones, however, will be placed on the street. And it will be more than one in order to record the license plate of the car is someone is driving in each direction of traffic.

"Creating a virtual cyber net around every community, to prevent gang members and resolve the crimes that are committed by many of the gang members," Assemblyman Ramos said.

The cameras will go up in Brentwood, Central Islip and Bay Shore. Leaders say they won't be monitored, but only accessed by an officer with special clearance to view the recording.

"We must respect the civil rights of our community, anyone who is concerned about these cameras spying on them, it will absolutely not be used for anything other than solving crime," Assemblyman Ramos said.
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