But the report raised questions on their effectiveness to deter crime -- especially when each license plate reader can cost $20,000 to $25,000.
"The most accurate license plate readers might be used by law enforcement officials in ways that have no specific or general deterrent, preventative, or detection effect whatsoever," the study said.
The question of deterrence was also raised by the Police Executive Research Forum and Mesa, Ariz., Police Department in a 2011 study that found the technology results in more arrests for car theft.
"We believe our results demonstrate that LPR technology holds a limited amount of promise for law enforcement. Some of the benefits include increasing the number of plates that the police can scan, increasing the number of 'hits' for vehicle theft and 'hits' for stolen plates, increasing the number of arrests for stolen cars, and increasing the number of recoveries involving occupied stolen vehicles," the forum study said.
"However, we did not find evidence that the LPR reduced actual vehicle theft rates for our targeted areas," the report concluded.
But deterrence isn't the principle objective of the technology, Roberts contends.
"Its principle objective is to identify vehicles that are wanted," Roberts added.
For the technology to become a deterrent might take time, Izen said.
"The short answer is, I don't think it does yet, but it may soon -- when we realize how much more easy it is to solve crimes," Izen said.