Every month, in the city of Gulfport, there are more than a dozen reports of stolen cars. But thanks to some new technology it may become easier to catch car thieves.
A new computer system will make it easier for officers with the Gulfport Police Department to catch criminals.
"There is no way we can run every tag through our radio system. So this is just another tool that we have to get stolen vehicles off our roadways," says Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford.
Weatherford says after hearing that the system is doing exceptionally well in places like Atlanta, he decided to give it a try.
"It is running every tag, comparing every tag to the national database. It's about reducing crime. We don't want criminals in our city operating stolen vehicles. In less than an hour, the computer system tracked more than 600 tags," says Weatherford.
The tiny cameras act almost like price scanners at the supermarket and the results are instantaneous.
"Once it hits on a possible plate, it alerts the officer as a warning then the officer verifies that plate to what is actually stolen," says Chief Weatherford.
The price tag for the system: About $20,000. It's an investment Chief Weatherford says is more than necessary.
"You've got to look at the bottom line, it's about crime reduction. It's about getting these stolen vehicles off the streets," Weatherford said.
Gulfport is one of the first cities in the state to begin using the computer system. Depending on how the software works, Chief Alan Weatherford says they will purchase two more of the computer systems within the next month.