West U’s Virtual Gate project is now complete

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The city’s Virtual Gate project at West University Place is now complete, the city announced.

The concept of the Virtual Door Camera System was proposed to West U City Council in 2017 as a crime deterrent. The installation started in 2019.

Although West U is not the first city to install such cameras and various agencies have used similar technology, the virtual door camera system remains unique as it incorporates both license plate readers and cameras live.

“Combining the two cameras produces a one-of-a-kind security camera system customized for West U,” said Bianca Cuccerre, communications coordinator for the city of West U.

Forty sites around the perimeter of the city were selected to host the two types of cameras, creating “virtual gates” at entry points to the city.

Live streaming and license plate scanning cameras alert the West U dispatch center and patrol officers when suspicious vehicles enter the city.

These may include vehicles identified as stolen, associated with statewide DPS alerts, or reported in association with serious crimes. The system is also equipped with a searchable database to facilitate police investigations.

So far, license plate readers are operating at an impressive 97.2% accuracy rate and have helped solve investigations, Cuccerre said.

The project was originally budgeted at $4.5 million.

“The city is proud to say that when we make our final payment in June, the project will be under budget,” Cuccerre said.

“Council has always emphasized the importance of public safety in preserving the small-town atmosphere of our community,” said Mayor Susan Sample. “The virtual door will be an invaluable tool in deterring criminals and solving crimes in our neighborhood.

juhi.varma@hcnonline.com


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