Improved technology means that our cars are now more secure than ever. Although incidents of car theft have decreased as a result of this, license plate theft is unfortunately on the rise.
According to the Liverpool Echo, 1,342 number plates were reported stolen in Merseyside in the period from April 2013 to March 2014. Alarmingly, thefts are supposedly as common in broad daylight as they are at night.
Why is license plate theft on the rise?
Police warn that license plates are often stolen with the intent to also steal a car’s identity when committing further crimes. Thames Valley Police say some of the most common crimes committed with stolen number plates are ‘gas and dashes’, ‘robbery’ and ‘avoidance of congestion charges and parking fines’.
In the unfortunate event that a license plate is stolen, the crime should be reported immediately. Acting quickly can help you avoid receiving fines or worse, knocks on the door from police officers regarding crimes you did not commit.
Number plates often also possess more value than a legal identity. The popularity of personalised number plates amongst drivers comes mostly from car owners wanting to give their vehicle a more sentimental edge. Private number plate specialists Click4Reg, value the protection of personalised number plates on cars, particularly because of each one’s rarity, their merit as a gift and potential worth in trade.
The precautions taken to avoid license plate theft are much like the ones to take when avoiding vehicle theft.
At night, parking in a garage or well-lit street is always likely to deter thieves.
Parking in a public car park at any time of day will ensure extra safety, especially if you can park in view of a CCTV camera.
Where possible, it is also worthwhile to park against something which prevents access to either your front or back license plates
Fitting security screws is perhaps the most effective way of avoiding license plate theft. They can be fitted by a regular screwdriver in place of the plate’s existing screws, but removing them requires a specialist screwdriver only available to police and authorized partners.