September 19, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Do you look at your vehicular number plate?

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Colin WilsonwebI must admit I hardly ever do.

I don’t even know the registration number that is on the plate.

It’s just there. Or is it?

iNews Cayman Publisher, Joan Wilson, discovered recently her front number plate was missing from her car.

She doesn’t know how she lost it nor when she lost it. It could have been a day or a lot longer.

She thought it had just fallen off and she made inquiries at various supermarkets thinking it might have been pulled off when she reversed from the parking bays in their car parks. She had concluded the bottom of the number plate may have dropped over the concrete parking bay stop when she had parked too close to it.

She made inquiries at both supermarkets she regularly visits but there was no luck there. No number plates had been found or handed in.

However, on closer inspection it was found the screws holding the number plate on were intact but loosened.

Someone had deliberately undone the screws, removed the plate and gone off with it.

I at first thought this was a little far fetched.

Who on earth would want to steal a number plate? Not much value in that. Right?

Wrong.

When Joan visited the police station to report the loss and filled in the necessary forms in order to get a replacement she was told the theft of number plates here in the Cayman Islands is increasing.

Thieves are using the stolen number plates on stolen cars.

How many of us check whether the number plate on the front of a car matches the one on the rear?

I never have.

Well its now time you should and every day make sure you have two number plates.

And it’s not just going on here.

In a story I found on the Liverpool Echo website (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/2500-number-plates-stolen-across-7376921) it said:

“The figures show there were more than 2,500 thefts of vehicle registration plates in Merseyside in the last two years.

“Stolen plates are later used in bank robberies, the cloning of cars, petrol station theft and even to avoid speeding, parking and bus lane fines.

“Some plates are even stolen as part of petty damage, disorder or even for collector purposes.

“But the Sunday ECHO understands they are mainly stolen with the intention to use on another vehicle in order to evade detection in further crime.

“The figures – obtained through a Freedom of Information request – show there were 2,611 thefts of registration plates in the last two years.

“There were 1,269 plates reported as stolen in the period from April 2012 to March 2013, and 1,342 were reported in the period from April 2013 to March 2014.

“The annual increase of 73 offences equates to an approximate 5% rise in the crime.”

END

On another website – a police one – they gave some advice to motorists on the issue of stolen number/registration plates:

“Stolen index plates may be used to aid secondary crimes such as: theft of fuel from forecourts (bilking); avoidance of congestion charges and parking fines; vehicle cloning; and burglary.

“If index plate theft is not reported, victims may receive summonses for unpaid parking and speeding tickets, or may even be questioned by police in connection with more serious crimes.

“The following prevention/reduction actions and advice will assist police and partners to reduce the potential risk of crime and prevent members of the public from becoming victims.

“Crime prevention advice

“Park your car in a garage at night or park to prevent access to either front or rear number plate.

“Park in a safe public car park.

“If parking on a public road, park in a well-lit spot.

“Use theft resistant number plates which are designed to break apart if they are forcibly removed from a vehicle.

“Fit security screws. Simple anti-theft devices can be easily fitted with a screwdriver in place of existing screws but cannot be removed using standard tools (use correct security screws appropriate for the pre-existing number plate screw size and application). These are available from high street automotive accessories outlets.

“If you notice a car with different number plates on the front and the back or number plate missing, please let police know.

END

The item I noticed from the above list of things to do was the fitting of security screws. Simple, cheap and quick.

I am going to do that today. You should too.

And remember to look at your number plates on you vehicle every day.

 

 

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