BAKERSFIELD, Cali. - It's something you may not worry about protecting, but it doesn't take long for thieves to steal your license plate.
License plate theft is a crime that happens more often than you think and Bakersfield Police Sergeant Joe Grubbs told 23ABC thieves have stealing license plates for years.
“I have heard of stickers being stolen, but never an entire license plate. It’s strange,” said Bakersfield resident Jessica Avancena.
“I use locknuts on mine so it’s a little more difficult to get it off, but people are doing that sort of thing,” said Bakersfield resident Dave Rhodes.
Sergeant Grubbs told 23ABC the first thing someone should do if their license plate is stolen is report it to the police.
“When officers are out and they’re pulling vehicles over if a license plate is reported stolen it comes back and the dispatcher will announce to the officer on the radio that the plate is either lost or stolen which can let the officer know that the vehicle he is pulling over may be a vehicle with false plates on it.”
Once you report the crime you have to go to the DMV and pay $20.00 for new plates. That’s a trip the can be avoided if you take steps to protect yourself.
Sergeant Grubbs told 23ABC you should always park in a well-lit area and park in a garage when possible. Another thing you can do is use one way license plate security screws because they are difficult to remove and thieves can’t use a screwdriver to get the plate off the car.
“It slows the criminal down and the criminal doesn’t want to be slowed down so you know if it’s in a parking lot or something he might look at that plate and say oh it has one way screws on them and move on to another.”
The Bakersfield Police Department gives out the screws for free as part of its crime prevention program.
Contact the Bakersfield Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit at 326-3053 for information on other crime prevention programs available to the community.