Binghamton police soon may be able to keep track of almost everyone who drives into or out of the city.

Mayor Richard David has announced plans to set up a network of license plate readers at nearly every entrance to the city.

David said he wants to install nearly two-dozen of the devices along with the high-speed fiber optic lines needed to support the system.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, the mayor said he expects the project will cost $700,000.

David said ten readers are to be installed this year and about 12 more will be added next year.

The devices would be placed around the perimeter of the city to record the license plates of vehicles as they come and go. Some Binghamton police cars already are equipped with plate readers.

The mayor said each vehicle entering Binghamton would be scanned and the registration information then would be cross-referenced with local, state and federal law enforcement databases.

David said the Long Island village of Freeport "saw a 24 percent reduction in crime" since it installed license plate readers a few years ago.

The mayor said city police patrols will receive an alert when a vehicle with a plate linked to a crime or a wanted person passes by a plate reader. He said criminals who "are on the run will begin to avoid Binghamton" and those who are in the city will not be able to remain "unchecked or undetected."

Privacy issues have been raised as the use of license plate readers has increased and large amounts of information have been stored in government and private databases. David said "this is not information that is kept forever."

The mayor said the network isn't intended to be used to generate revenue. But he wouldn't rule out the use of plate readers to nab people who owe parking fines to the city.

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