Registration stickers & License plate theft epidemic
Vehicle License Plate sticker
Every year honest car owners renew their vehicle registration plate sticker by paying the renewal fee and getting a new sticker for another year. This sticker should be put on your back license plate and it is illegal to drive a vehicle without a valid sticker.
To replace a sticker most of us simply clean off the surface of the previous sticker by just rubbing it with a piece of cloth (or worse, and it would be me, with a piece of toilet paper) and put the new one on the top of it, thus creating with years a stack of stickers. We just presume that all people in the world are as honest and law obedient as we are. Well, not really….Registration stickers theft is growing and the way we usually put a new sticker on our license plate makes it easier for a thief to just tear off the stack and use it for his car, or maybe even sell it to someone else who wants to be “smart” by breaking the laws. It saves them lots of money, since they avoid paying the renewal fee (which goes up several dollars every year). The thieves probably repeat this process every year, as they get away with this easily, unless they are stopped by police for some other reason and the ownership validation sticker number is checked against the number of the sticker on the license plate.
Read the story Reuven has to tell.
The mystery criminals
Drew and I had a lot of plans that day. We were going to go to the bank, get some pizza, clean our apartment and then go to work for the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team. Instead, we visited the local police station, drove to Milwaukee’s Southside, and said a lot of naughty words. Seems unexpected?
Unexpected was walking outside to my car, and hearing Drew say: “Ooo this isn’t good. Come look at this.” Drew was missing a quarter of his license plate!
I quickly turned to look at my car, which was parked next to Drew’s and found that the last six years of registration stickers were missing. It now read March 2005.
We may not live in the nicest area in Milwaukee, but so far our apartment on Marquette University’s campus has been crime free. We quickly walked over to the police station (50 feet away) and notified them about the hungry criminals. As it turns out, “license plate crimes” are so common; the police does not take reports about them. Instead, we had to visit the DMV on Milwaukee’s Southside. (Interesting fact: it is located next to a Chuck E Cheese). Drew had to pay $9 for a new license plate while I was able to get a new registration sticker for free.
The next night I came home for a message from Drew that read: “They got your plate.” I ran downstairs to find out that the hungry criminals came back. It was midnight, and I was very surprised that they came at such an early hour. I notified Marquette’s Public Safety who quickly responded by documenting the incidents and pushing more public safety vehicles to this area.
Reuven's circumcised license plate
Crime prevention TIPS
There are some adjustments you can make to avoid this type of crime:
- When you receive new renewal stickers, place them in the center of the plate (upper or lower edge). It’s much harder to clip the plate if the stickers aren’t in the corner.
- Purchase a metal license plate frame to protect against clipping of the corner of the plate
- Prior to adhering a new sticker to your plate, remove the built up stack of old stickers. Fewer stickers in a stack make theft more difficult.
- Protect the stack of stickers by taking a razor blade and running a combination of 6-9 deep vertical and horizontal cuts through the stack. This way, if someone tries to peel off the sticker, they will only get a useless portion of the sticker. The thief will then give up.
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