New site helps neighborhoods keep an eye on cars

February 4, 2011 1:04:10 AM PST
The traditional Neighborhood Watch is hitting cyberspace. San Leandro people, trying to keep their streets safe, are tapping into a new website that plasters suspicious license plates on the Internet for the world to see.

Thursday night, a meeting was held with crime victims and concerned residents. Three weeks ago Jack Lewis watched his wife get mugged right in front of their San Leandro home.

"I heard her scream, I thought she had slipped on the steps or something and he was there, the robber," said Lewis.

He joined other residents to learn more about the new website called which allows anyone to post license plate numbers of suspicious cars. It is the brainchild of Wayne Gregori, a local real estate broker and victim of a car break-in.

"The idea really is to provide information to the police department to allow them to connect the dots more readily," says Wayne

Gergori says the website won't be used as a marketing data base. It is free for anyone, anywhere to post license plate numbers or look at reports of suspicious activity.

San Leandro police say they can't monitor the site 24/7, but they will use it to check plates when a crime occurs in a certain area. However, they don't want the website to be used as a substitute for calling police.

"If it is something of a less serious nature to go ahead and call our non-emergency number so they can at least get a patrol officer to come out to the house," says San Leandro Sgt. Robert McManus.

ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson says this should not raise any privacy issues.

"On the other end of, we have reporting to the police and that's something that enjoys absolute constitutional protected," says Johnson.

Gregori says it will be a way for people to challenge a report if they feel their tag numbers are wrongly posted.

"You can challenge having your car placed into there and we'll make the phone call to verify of what the people say is true and we won't remove them from the database, but we'll remove them from public view," says Gregori.

This website is not just for the east Bay, already there are hundreds of communities in the system ready to take down license numbers.