By Betty Yu

FREMONT (KPIX 5) – Surveillance cameras with license plate readers will soon be keeping a close eye on drivers in Fremont.

“It’s going to be a game changer, in how we can solve crimes quickly,” said Lt. Mike Tegner of the Fremont Police Department.

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The city is spending $300,000 on license plate readers and cameras at 10 major freeway on-ramps.

“The purpose of this system is to provide investigative information for use during investigations of serious crimes that we have in the city,” Fremont Police Chief Richard Lucero said.

Burglaries are at the top of that list. Data from authorities show that 85 percent of burglars are from outside Fremont.

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The community got a first look at what the cameras and readers will look like and sample images at a meeting Thursday night. At the meeting, some pressed police on big brother-type security concerns.

“We’re only going to use that after we have a crime. And what we’re trying to use the video for is just a tool to solve these crimes, so it’s not like we’re going to live monitor these,” Tegner said.

License plate data will be stored for one year, and the video will be kept for 30 days.

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The new system will add to the strong network of personal cameras many Fremont residents already have. The city credits them for reducing crime. Right now there are about 350 private cameras registered in the city.