Student Newsroom

U of I to install five more license plate readers on campus


The University of Illinois will soon double its number of license plate readers, like this one near the Illinois Street Residence Hall, from five to 10 campuswide. Photo by: Elissa Eaton

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign police department will soon install five more automated license plate readers on campus because of the program’s  success in helping solve crimes. 

License plate readers are technology tools that can capture the text on the license plates of passing vehicles in high resolution, according to university detective Kyle Krickovich

The first two devices were installed in 2021 and have since helped solve cases of gun violence, vehicle thefts, road rage and more, Krickovich said. 

Having license plate readers and a robust security camera system has provided campus police with more resources to solve crimes, Krickovich said. 

“We're up to over 2,300 cameras on the campus network, so that alone is a great benefit,” Krickovich said. “But our response to the crime and our ability to have intelligence or information to solve a crime has greatly increased.”

The plate readers make it easier for detectives to pinpoint the suspects involved in a crime, he said. 

“Being able to narrow that number down and find just that license plate really takes a lot of the legwork the officer detective might have to do,” Krickovich said.  “It saves a lot of time, so it's been a great resource.”

Garrett Forrest, the university student body president, has collaborated with the campus Chief of Police Alice Cary to implement more programs for campus safety. He said he supports the expansion of license plate readers. 

“I'm very supportive of the UIPD’s plan to implement these license plate readers,”  Forrest said. “I think it's a smart use of technology that will provide an additional layer of safety.”  

Although campus police have yet to decide on the locations of the new license plate readers, Forrest said he believes they will place them in the best locations for catching crimes. 

“I know that Chief Cary and her team are very strategic about these types of devices,” Forrest said. “I trust their judgment in determining how many we need and where we need them.”