Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Check that plate

We are right on the verge of launching our Automated License Plate Reader system in two police vehicles. In preparation, we have been fine tuning a process for creating and loading a database for the ALPR system to check against. We obtained a dump of six months data on wanted vehicles from NCIC—the National Crime Information Center. I was quite surprised by the number of stolen license plates contained in this national file, so out of curiosity I ran a query of my own this morning on stolen plates this year in Lincoln.

So far in 2009, we have had 225 stolen license plate cases reported to the Lincoln Police Department. In a bit over half the cases (134) both the front and rear plates were stolen. In the remainder, only one plate was taken. There are probably a few cases where a plate simply fell off, but not very many. Our officers encounter stolen plates on a fairly regular basis, but once those ALPR units are in service, that number will certainly increase.

I’m hoping someone locates this plate, stolen from a visitor over the weekend. I suspect, however, that it is adorning a wall somewhere, rather than a bumper, a criminal souvenir of this Saturday night fracas.


JIM J said...

I guess I am a football guru. Most people thought Nebraska would lose. I had thought Nebraska would win the game. I thought about Syracuse beating Nebraska when NU was 38 pt fav. Even the NY radio stations were talking about how bad the Huskers would whip them. As far as last Sat, I never imagined that the offense would score no points and the defense would be the victors.
Go figure.
I do not think the wins will continue, as the defense is not going to be able to get a win every game.
The plate was taken by someone who wanted a trophy. It will show up on some college kids wall. Or a crime stoppers tip. What are friends for?

Anonymous said...

I attributed the mention of the License Plate recognition system to an article in the LJS in a previous topic but I see now it was your blog where I saw it. Maybe you have a career as a reporter ahead of you if you retire.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...


Didn't you once give a rough estimate of what proportion of cars in Lincoln were probably being driven without valid plates, current tags, current liability insurance, or by unlicensed/suspended drivers? 10% or something like that. Anyway, I bet the percentage would make a lot of optimist's jaws hit the floor.

Steve-O said...

The larger crime, in my tongue-in-cheek opinion, is that a grown man admitted to owning a Honda Fit.

Tom Casady said...


Just blogged on that topic last month. My estimate is 10-15% at any given time.

Anonymous said...


My stastistical methodology for this isn't anywhere near good, but if you go through the accident report listings and check to see what sort of citations were issued, you would of course expect to see one ticket for negligent driving, failure to yield, unsafe backing, etc - the cause of the collision, unless the at-fault party has 4 legs and a white tail, because deer never show up for court anyway.

However, what you also see is a sizable amount of citations for no OL, improper registration, no insurance, etc. It seems that those who don't put any effort into staying legal as owners and operators also don't put any effort into driving responsibly, and get into a disproportionate share of collisions.

Tom Casady said...


I have no data, but I suspect the same thing. I would guess that uninsured, unregistered, and unlicensed motorists are far, far, more likely to be involved in crashes than drivers who have valid licenses, paid up insurance, and current registrations.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

Whoever took the Oklahoma plate might have been wearing this shirt.

Anonymous said...

When you do a stop on a car that has a stolen plate, is it usually on a vehicle of the same make / model / color as the vehicle from which the plate was stolen?

Tom Casady said...

2:25 -

I don't think so. Officers?

Anonymous said...

Of all the stolen plates I have collected off of suspects vehicles, never have I removed a plate that was on a similar in like vehicle. Consequently, it is not uncommon to take a plate off of a full size Blazer that was originally belonging to a Honda Civic hatchback.