Infrared cameras were first created during the Korean War. The military has long used these cameras to enable night vision for many reasons. Gradually infrared cameras have begun to be used for other purposes. The police are one group that has found many different uses for infrared cameras.
Number Plate Scanners
Police use small infrared cameras that are mounted on their police cars. As police cruise and patrol with their cars, these infrared cameras automatically scan number plates of cars that are nearby. The number plate numbers are received and sent through a database where they can be matched to find stolen vehicles and people who have warrants issued for arrest.
Airplanes and Helicopters
Airplanes and helicopters can be fitted with infrared cameras and used to patrol over homes. If a substantial amount of heat is discovered in a particular home, it may indicate a home that is using numerous grow lights to grow marijuana.
Law enforcement can set up infrared surveillance cameras in areas that are prone to high crime. These cameras can be aimed to capture activity and in the event of a crime being committed it may be possible to identify criminals.
Police vans can be equipped with infrared cameras that are designed to detect faulty brakes in semi-trucks and other heavy trucks. When brakes are used, brakes automatically give off heat. The camera can detect this heat as it focuses on the axle of trucks. If the camera detects the heat, the truck brakes are shown to be in good working order. If the camera does not detect heat, the truck brakes are shown to not be functioning properly. The police van can then alert the truck driver that the brakes may not be functioning, and serious accidents may be avoided.
Law enforcement can use hand-held infrared cameras to track perpetrators and criminals who attempt to flee or hide after dark. The infrared cameras can be aimed in the direction that the perpetrators are thought to have gone and the heat sensors can detect people hiding.