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Marco Island approves purchase of license plate readers for bridges

A question over crime prevention or invasion of privacy is swirling around on Marco Island.

The City of Marco Island is expected to get three new license plate readers. Marco Island’s police chief says they are needed to help them investigate crimes faster, but some are worried about where they will be placed.

“There’s been situations that, if we did have the cameras, it probably would have helped solve some crimes earlier,” Police Chief Tracy Frazzano said.

Marco Island City Council approved the purchase of three automatic license plate readers to go at both entrances of the island — the Jolley and the Goodland bridges — to help the police department solve crimes.

“We had a rash of stolen cars earlier this year, where the people that were stealing cars came into the island in a stolen car,” Frazzano said. “So we would have known right away that they came into the island because it would have done a hit notification for us.”

Frazzano says this investment will help with AMBER Alerts, uninsured drivers and sex offenders.

But at the meeting Monday, Councilman Victor Rios was not sold on the idea.

“Why should we have constant spying on who’s coming to the island?” Rios said. “I think it hinges on my civil liberties and the liberty of humans and visitors to the island.”

But islanders we spoke to disagree.

“There’s cameras everywhere,” Kevin Born said. “I don’t think it matters. I think it’s good for security.”

“I see it drawing more people in,” Keith Williams. “Drawing more tourists in, you should feel safer.”

The cameras are estimated to cost around $60,000. There is still no set date when they will be installed.

Chief Frazzano assured everyone these cameras are not meant to invade privacy.

“It’s not a camera that follows you around the island,” Frazzano said. “We don’t track every movement.”

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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