CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Police officers in Chesapeake have new sets of eyes on the road — but not human ones.

“The use of this technology is really a force multiplier for us,” said Capt. John Landfair.

The department has installed 33 new license plate readers throughout the city, and they are expecting to install 10 more shortly. Previously, license plate readers have been mounted on the back of officers’ cars. Now they are fixed in known “hot spots” for crime.

“A lot of times we’ve found that there’s a nexus between violent crime shootings and stolen vehicles,” Landfair said. “We’ve had gang-related shootings where stolen vehicles are used for drive-by shootings, and also for suspects to commit other robberies,”

“It’s no secret that most police departments, ours included, are currently down officers. So by using this type of technology, we’re really able to get more eyes out there,” Landfair said.

Since installing the license plate readers last month, the department has recovered 40 stolen cars. During the same time frame last year, the department recovered 14 cars.

“Right now we’re averaging one vehicle per day,” Landfair said.

Police are hopeful the readers, which were funded by grant money, will also help them solve missing persons cases, involving Amber, Ashanti and Silver alerts.

“Think about if we had a way to guarantee that if that vehicle passed a fixed point, that law enforcement would be notified. That’s one of the ways this is game changing.”