A West Side Rag reader wrote in to say her front license plate was stolen off of her car last week, and the problem appears to be widespread.

I’m writing to report my observations about license plate theft on the UWS. Our front license plate was stolen a week ago, and my son and I noticed four other cars in the same predicament last Sunday. During the week, we kept our eyes out for more, and wound up counting FORTY cars with missing front license plates. I started taking pictures a couple of days ago. The pictures were all taken on Riverside between 96th and 110th. We also observed the same thing on 94th & 95th streets west of Broadway.

I called the 24th precinct when I first noticed this and they were totally dismissive. They said that they didn’t think it was a pattern because no one else had reported it. Then, at the end of the conversation, they said “didn’t you call with the same complaint half an hour ago?” (I hadn’t).

I’m hoping that your awesome website with bring some more awareness about this. When one plate is stolen, you have to surrender the remaining one to the DMV to get new plates and a new registration. It is a major hassle. It took my husband over two hours.

We’ve checked in with the 24th precinct but have not heard back.

Another possible explanation: some people don’t put their front license plates on in the first place.


NEWS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. the_the says:

      Had mine stolen a couple months ago from RSD in the 70’s.

      I went to the precinct to report it, they gave me a piece of paper to bring to DMV.
      If the plate is stolen, you get new plates for free, otherwise you pay a DMV fee.

      Unfortunately, NYPD marked their paper with “LOST” instead of “STOLEN” so I had to pay.
      I guess NYPD doesn’t want stolen plates to go into their crime statistics.

      • WSRes says:

        Mine was stolen about 6 months ago also. Also RSD in the 70’s. What does someone do with them?

    2. dannyboy says:

      Hey! I park on RSD in the stretch between 96th and 102 Streets. I better go check my front plate. If it has gone missing, I will camp out at the Two-Four because allowing crimes to go on without bothering is not good policing.

      • Mark says:

        Neither is choking unarmed men to death in broad daylight. RIP Eric Garner.

        • ScooterStan says:

          Re: “Neither is choking unarmed men to death in broad daylight. RIP Eric Garner.”

          SO… ALL cops have to suffer because of the actions of ONE BAD APPLE COP who choked Mr. Garner ?

          Well, “Mark”, how would you feel to be named a criminal because, according to the website [] “There are twenty-one Criminals called Mark.”

          Ergo, according to YOUR warped Lefty-Librul-Logic, since you’re named Mark you too must be a criminal!

          THEN AGAIN, you COULD be a Mark like:
          Nineteen Presidents
          Nineteen Saints
          Twelve Classical Composers
          etc. etc. etc.

          Bottom Line: Learn to THINK, not just to Generalize and/or stereotype!

    3. AC says:

      This happened to me once. As the_the states above, make sure you get that slip of paper with the “Stolen” box checked off. Insist that it checked off!

      Also, save all of your paperwork. Weeks after getting new tags, I received a summons for parking in front of a hydrant somewhere in Suffolk County, LI. It was the plate that was stolen. A letter to the Suffolk County Police Department with a copy of my paperwork resolved the issue. Nonetheless, still aggravating!

    4. Stuart says:

      We stopped parking on Riverside years ago after someone popped the plastic covering from our turn signal lights on two different occasions.

      • dannyboy says:

        A good decision. I do park on RSD exactly because there are spots available due to the dangers. I can’t recommend it for the cautious,as I have had 6 cars stolen over the years.

    5. pub says:

      “Another possible explanation: some people don’t put their front license plates on in the first place.”

      considering this is illegal, why would you make it a plausible explanation?


      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Not only that, but if someone didn’t put their license plate on their car, why would they report it stolen? #DoubleDerp

      • anon says:

        Some states don’t require a front license plate so the pics of parked cars without one don’t indicate one has been stolen.

    6. John Geen says:

      Many states do not require front license plates

    7. Pam Franklin says:

      Some states don’t require front license plates, so it’s possible that some of those cars you see without front plates are out-of-state. Most southern states and PA and DE don’t require front plates.

    8. Amy says:

      The 24th precinct is never any help

    9. Johnny Backinmyday says:

      Back in my day, we didn’t need a front license plate or a license plate on the back. We also didn’t check our smart phones while we were driving or bring our annoyingly loud kids to dinner.

      This city has lost its way ever since that liberal LaGuardia was allowed to run things. Crime has spiked every year since and they do nothing about it because we live in a PC culture where everyone is offended.

      • Mark says:

        Try again buddy, the cops made their own bed.

      • Debbie D. says:

        Troll Grade: C+

        Not over the top enough to be either genuine “in my day” cranky whiner, or to be a snarky troll. If you are being legit, there isnt enough vitriol. If you are satirizing, focus on being a little more extreme and self-contradicting.

      • David says:

        If LaGuardia was a liberal ( he was Republican, so hardly a liberal, unless you were joking), why did he have all the pinball machines destroyed?

        • Independent says:

          Who or what may be considered “liberal” or “conservative” in any given context is relative and often subjective. There have been plenty of Republicans who have been considered liberal. Ever hear the term “Rockefeller Republican”? (As well as plenty of Democrats who have been considered conservative– though this latter category, at least, is now a nearly-exinct species). Nixon has been described as “The last liberal President”. Even Reagan’s conservatism, widely considered unquestionable, is, in fact, questioned by at least some.

          (And of course, “Johnny Backinmyday” was making an attempt at satire. Could that have been much more obvious? Wait…maybe David was also…)

          • dannyboy says:

            I believe that David was offering some factual background. When pinball machines were illegal in NYC, I went upstate to play. We of course gambled on the games.

            • Independent says:

              I was replying-to David’s parenthetical comment,
              “(he was Republican, so hardly a liberal, unless you were joking)”

              (Admittedly, going off on a tangent.)

              Incidentally, I’m not so sure that the example given of banning pinball machines necessarily equates-to a contradiction of being “liberal”. I’m thinking, specifically, about prohibition (where alcohol was destroyed), which was actually a “progressive” cause. Of course, “progressive” and “liberal” are not necessarily the same but the two terms are commonly used interchangeably today.

    10. MSD says:

      You can always buy a replacement plate from the guy who SELLS NYS license plates at the IS44 Flea Market on Sundays. Is that even legal? I have no idea where he gets his from. They are all different vintages, including current.

    11. anon says:

      I am the one who posted this. I know not all states require 2 license plates but these were all NY cars or I wouldn’t have bothered taking the pictures.

    12. Neighbor says:

      The police never take our complaints seriously.

    13. Vooch says:

      Free Car Storage on Public Property is such a drag.

    14. AMH says:

      That Fiat is parked dangerously close to the corner. Maybe someone is sending a message.