NYPD to crack down on counterfeit license plates, hoping to prevent more violent crimes

Counterfeit license plates, like these the MTA displayed in a recent toll evasion bust, have been linked to more violent crimes in New York City, police officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio said on June 16, 2021.
Photo courtesy MTA Bridges and Tunnels

The NYPD and Department of Transportation are cracking down on counterfeit paper license plates, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, as the NYPD has noticed a trend in the link between the fakes and various other crimes, including violent offenses.

De Blasio called it “a growing problem which links to many other problems.” 

“This is an area where the NYPD has noticed more and more of trend and they are acting on that trend of thousands and thousands of these illegal and fraudulent license plates out there,” said de Blasio. 

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea remarked that detectives and police brass first noticed the issue of fraudulent license plates last year and had several strategy meetings on how to combat the problem. The NYPD felt now was the proper time to brief the public on the matter, and notify everyone of how important it is to have the correct paperwork.

The biggest concern is the link it has had to violent crimes. Shea referenced a recent incident in Queens where a shooting took place in which the individuals involved were found to have a fraudulent license plate. 

“The why is really important here because we have seen a clear connection at times to violence,” Shea said.

NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said that all patrol officers are currently being trained by the auto-crime unit to be able to identify a fraudulent plate while patrolling the city. He also added the counterfeit license plates are being sold on social media sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. 

“This initiative will be conducted in all five boroughs throughout the city. The results of the initiative will have an impact on protecting all New Yorkers,” said Harrison. “This criminal phenomenon is a byproduct of COVID-19 when the Department of Motor Vehicles was shut down and provided limited services.” 

De Blasio, as he has routinely stated, said that this will help in the city’s recovery. 

“We need recovery for public safety and we need public safety for recovery, the two go together,” said the mayor. “The more and more the life of the city comes back, the safer everyone is.”

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