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Permanent cameras, license plate readers will be watching you on Goethals Bridge

Big Brother is watching you…as you drive to Staten Island.

The Port Authority has installed permanent license plate readers on the Goethals Bridge, which connects Elizabeth, New Jersey, with New York’s southernmost borough.

The department plans to install 24 more license plate readers at the Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge intersections, which officials say will help combat crime, crack down on toll evasion and allow police in both states to track cars and trucks crossing the interstate. According to a press release from the agency.

Greg Ehley, the Port Authority’s chief security officer, spoke about the license plate readers during a recent press conference. X/@PANYNJ
Readers are “the DNA of the highway,” Ehrie said. X/@PANYNJ

Officials say the readers — which will cost authorities about $10 million — will also help them find stolen cars and track vehicles that may be carrying missing people, such as children or elderly people.

“License plate readers are the DNA of the highway,” said Greg Eley, the Port Authority’s chief security officer. According to silive.com. “You can find out what’s going on.”

And it seems like there’s a lot going on.

Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon reported a 110% increase in stolen vehicles across the borough in 2022 and said authorities knew they needed to do something about it.

“This critical public safety technology and infrastructure is long overdue and much needed, and will enable seamless information sharing with law enforcement, resulting in faster arrests of car thieves and more successful prosecutions in court,” he said in a statement.

Port officials said the readers will help police find stolen vehicles, track missing people and catch toll evaders. X/@PANYNJ

“While there are many factors that contributed to Staten Island being the only borough to see a decrease in auto theft in 2023 and seeing a nearly 30 percent decrease in stolen vehicles so far this year, there is no doubt that the installation of license plate readers on New Jersey’s bridges has played a major role in deterring crime, holding auto thieves and toll violators accountable, and returning stolen vehicles to their rightful owners.”

The Staten Island District Attorney said readers will help reduce the number of car thefts, which have skyrocketed in 2022. Paul Martinka

By the time the Port Authority’s work is complete, a total of 40 readers will be installed on the authority’s Staten Island crossing bridges, including 24 new cameras on the Bayonne and Outerbridge crossings.

The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026, according to the announcement.