NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Nashville Police Department turned on license plate recognition cameras (LPRs) across Nashville, and already it has helped solve a crime.

Across Nashville, 39 LPRs went up. On Monday, Metro police announced a 16-year-old alleged car thief is now facing charges after one of the new LPR cameras flagged a stolen license plate. Inside the teen’s home, police say they found 17 different key fobs and credit cards for at least six different people.

“LPR technology has the potential to enhance public safety by locating vehicles wanted by law enforcement,” said Capt. Blaine Whited. “The MNPD will use LPR systems to locate stolen vehicles, and license plates investigate and prosecute felony offenses, associated with violent crimes locate vehicles involved in reckless driving such as street racing.”

LPRs have created a spotlight on the issue of street racing, which dominated the Antioch area. Now, the technology is set up along problem streets like Bell Road.

“So, the LPR expanding more than just reading license plates, they’re actually looking at speeds, and, I think I kind of thought it was specifically for license plates,” questioned James Turner, with the Community Oversight Board.

Cmdr. Carlos Lara answered Turner’s question, stating, “This is not a technology we are using to detect speeds or anything, we’re just literally looking for specific vehicles involved in specific crimes, and those cars, those takes are actually tags that we put in the system.”

Organizations who have long opposed the use of LPRs within Metro Nashville, are now dealing with the realities of them being here.

“Our city works best when everyone can feel safe and participate, but massive data gathering and surveillance only serve to disproportionately harm Black and brown communities. These excessive surveillance practices undermine the rights of all Nashvillians and further exacerbate the distrust between law enforcement and our communities.

LPR’s make it possible for police and ICE to track vehicles’ movement AND the data collected can reveal intimate information about where we live, work, travel, protest, worship, and seek legal support or healthcare. We know that in the long term, this is incredibly harmful for our Black and brown communities and it’s only a matter of time before Nashvillians face the implications of the increased surveillance.”

Luis Mata, Policy Coordinator at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition