Alton police call for ‘plate reading cameras’ on Clark Bridge

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ALTON, Ill. - The Alton Police Department is hoping several Riverbend communities will help fund the cost of placing license plate reading cameras on the Clark Bridge.

Alton police say the bridge is a pipeline for criminals from Missouri to target victims in Illinois. Members of the department made a pitch for the cameras to Godfrey Village Trustees Wednesday night.

“I’m in favor of it whole heartedly just as a deterrent,” said Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick.

Mayor McCormick said Godfrey was recently ranked as the 3rd safest city in the state of Illinois.  He said some residents were shaken after two elderly women were the victims of recent carjackings involving suspects from the St. Louis area. Alton Police Lt. Gary Cranmer said the suspects would have been apprehended sooner if the cameras were in place.

“As a previous detective, I can tell you if we would have had these in the past, it would save us a whole lot of time as we try to figure out who these people are and where they’re coming from,” Cranmer told Godfrey Village Trustees.

He said the cost of six cameras would be slightly less than $90,000 and would cost another $20,000 to install. The annual cost after that would be a $325 licensing fee per camera, according to Cranmer. The plan is for the six cameras to be placed on the bridge to read license plates and alert authorities when a stolen vehicle crosses over the bridge and into Illinois.

No vote was taken Wednesday, but Village Trustees are expected to take up the plan during their next meeting. The mayor wants to know how much money would be provided by other Riverbend communities before voting.

Cranmer said the plan has support from the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office. He hopes agencies in the area will reach a financial commitment agreement soon.

“Because it would benefit not only the Alton area and the City of Alton,” said Cranmer. “But it would also benefit every city in the Riverbend.”