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Security Cameras Will Soon Track People with Unpaid City Debt in Dallas

 Dallas, Texas, is cracking down on people who don’t pay up. The city of Dallas will soon employ a collections team armed with security cameras who will roam the streets to catch people with outstanding city debt.

The kicker is a law firm will fund the new project and will reap profits for every person who pays the city what’s owed. The law office of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson doubles as a collection agency. They are prepared to collect from violators and use the money collected to pay for the system. According to The Dallas Morning News, Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson have decided to use Houston-based, Municipal Intelligence Group as violation hunters using this license plate recognition software to help catch those who owe money to the city. More than 1,800 field agents will be armed with cameras scanning and photographing vehicles for violations. The software will process your vehicle if you owe money to the city and a sticker will be placed on your car as a warning for you to contact the law office for an outstanding debt – if you don’t pay within a certain amount of time, you could go to jail.

The North Texas Transportation Authority (NTTA) has already been using this technology with its TollTag system – adopting the famed “we’ll bill you later” phrase – on the toll ways; sending bills to customers months after they pass through toll ways. The major difference is no one is physically scanning your vehicle and entering the information into the city’s database. Now, the same system used by the NTTA will hit the streets. Also now there’s an added bonus with what appear to be renegade collection officials scouring the roads for people who owe the city money.

There has been protest from privacy agencies who claim the software violates personal private information. The new software is suppose to catch criminals, but often times people unknowingly have overdue parking tickets and traffic violations. This software does raise certain security and privacy questions because if all “violator” information gets entered into a database, then does that make them criminals? Or, does this software help keep the city secure from mountains of outstanding debt? The economy may be trekking through tough times, but the city will still employ any means necessary to get what’s owed. Also, what about out-of-state tourists – are they exempt?

Apparently, this technology is being used in other parts of the United States. According the Municipal Intelligence Group, this security effort is being used in 27 metropolitan areas throughout the nation. There’s no word on when this system will be implemented in Dallas, but Dallas travelers and residents may want to think twice before crossing a red light…the city’s new identification system just might track you down when you least expect it.

Posted by Christina Miralla on Sep 08, 2011


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