Evaluating the Crime Control and Cost-Benefit Effectiveness of License Plate Recognition (LPR) Technology in Patrol and Investigations, United States, 2014 (ICPSR 37049)

Version Date: Aug 2, 2018 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Cynthia M. Lum, George Mason University; Christopher S. Koper, George Mason University; James Willis, George Mason University

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37049.v1

Version V1

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This study, through a national survey and field studies in both patrols and investigations, examined the crime control and cost-effectiveness of the use of license plate readers (LPRs) within police agencies in the United States.

The collection contains 1 SPSS data file (Data-file-for-2013-IJ-CX-0017.sav (n=329; 94 variables)).

A demographic variable includes an agency's number of authorized full time personnel.

Lum, Cynthia M., Koper, Christopher S., and Willis, James. Evaluating the Crime Control and Cost-Benefit Effectiveness of License Plate Recognition (LPR) Technology in Patrol and Investigations, United States, 2014. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-08-02. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37049.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2013-IJ-CX-0017)

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Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reason for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2014-04 -- 2014-08
2014-04 -- 2014-08
  1. These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

License plate readers (LPRs) are a sensory and information technology designed to match scanned license plates to databases related to stolen vehicles, motor vehicle violations, criminal investigations and other policing matters. Preliminary assessments of LPRs focused on the efficiency of the technology itself, not its crime control or cost-effectiveness. Given the scant evidence-base for LPRs use in an environment of rapid diffusion, adaptation and costs, the researchers proposed to study the crime control and cost-benefit/effectiveness of LPRs. The study sought to analyze the impact of technology on the police, the use of LPRs by law enforcement, and also to improve the evidence-base of patrol and investigative operations.

This two-year project had four major study phases. It should be noted that the unit of analysis for each of the four procedures listed below is either the "police agency", "geographic areas", or "crime investigations".

The four phases of this study were:

1. A national police agency survey on license plate readers (LPRs) adoption. This survey updated Lum et al.'s (2010) 2009 national survey on LPRs use, and expanded on the earlier survey with more specific inquiries about LPRs adoption, deployment, data, and effectiveness.

2. A large scale experimental evaluation was conducted to more rigorously examine the crime control potential of LPRs in problem-oriented, proactive, place-based, and focused deterrence contexts. Through this evaluation, "tricks of the trade" of how officers could use LPRs to enhance their patrol capabilities were also documented.

3. An exploratory evaluation of police LPRs use for investigations.

4. Cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses were undertaken for LPRs use in patrol and investigations, respectively. Specifically measured was whether LPR use led to a cost benefit in terms of crimes prevented in patrol deployment and whether or not the use of LPRs led to cost effectiveness in investigations compared to investigations that did not employ it.

A national, stratified, representative survey of law enforcement agencies with over 100 sworn officers in the United States was conducted using the 2007 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey of state and local law enforcement agencies.

Agencies were drawn from three categories:

1. Agencies with 500 or more officers.

2. Agencies that responded "yes" to using license plate readers (LPRs) in the LEMAS 2007 on a "regular basis" (166 agencies).

3. A 25% random sample of agencies with 100 to 499 sworn officers that did not use LPRs in 2007.

The final sample included 431 police and sheriff's agencies with law enforcement responsibilities.

Cross-sectional

Law enforcement agencies with over 100 sworn officers located in the United States.

police agencies

Data-file-for-2013-IJ-CX-0017.sav (n=329; 94 variables): this file includes data derived from surveys conducted at police agencies with over 100 sworn officers located in the United States. Variables include information about an agency's use of license plate readers (LPRs), the types of crimes using LPRs, the number of LPRs in an agency, funding sources for LPRs, reasons for using or not using LPRs, the types of information that are regularly accessed by LPRs, how LPRs data are accessed and collected, policy on LPRs use, levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with LPRs, and the future of LPRs in the agency.

A demographic variable includes an agency's number of authorized full time personnel.

76.2%

Several Likert-type scales were used.

2018-08-02

The collection includes one weight variable, "weight", which must be included for any analysis.

The sample frame was stratified according to whether agencies were using license plate readers (LPRs) in 2007 (yes/no) and according to agency size (100-499 officers versus 500 or more officers). The combination of these categories thus resulted in four sampling cells. Three of these cells were sampled with certainty (i.e., both cells for agencies with 500 or more officers and the cell for smaller agencies that used LPRs in 2007) and drew a 25% random sample of agencies in the remaining cell (i.e., smaller agencies that did not use LPRs in 2007). In calculating the survey estimates, the data of the agencies in each cell were weighted based on the universe of agencies in that cell divided by the number of agencies that responded in that cell. For example, the 2007 LEMAS survey had 629 respondents that were not using LPRs and had 100 to 499 sworn officers. In this survey, 120 agencies from this category responded (out of 158 sampled); therefore, these agencies received a weight of 629 / 120 = 5.24. For agencies in the other sampling cells, weights were closer to 1 (because all agencies in those cells were surveyed), with some adjustment for non-response.

Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.