Scrapping front licence plates makes it harder to fight crime: Police

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Recently Ontario announced it was considering getting rid of front licence plates as a cost-cutting measure, but the province’s police chiefs are concerned that the move could end up jeopardizing public safety.

In media reports, Jeff McGuire, executive director of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, voiced opposition to the move saying: “If you eliminate half the licence plates in the province, you’ll eliminate half the opportunities for us to be able to identify people involved in crime.”

McGuire said two plates help solve violent crimes, amber alerts, hit and runs, and even assist in counter-terrorism as police collect video evidence from a variety of sources, including storefronts, home security videos and dashboard cameras.

Ontario is one of the few provinces in Canada that mandates two plates, along with British Columbia and Manitoba.

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New Brunswick recently scrapped the requirement in its budget, and the chiefs of police in that province also raised concerns.

In the U.S., 19 states require one licence plate, while 31 and Washington D.C. require two. Violating licence laws can result in a traffic ticket.

A Texas A&M Transportation Institute study determined that front plates improve readability rates, and not having a front license plate hampered homeland security efforts. In a summary of the study results, it was noted that: When parked, two-plate vehicles had a better license plate read rate than one-plate vehicles, 97 percent read rate for two-plate states versus 76 percent in one-plate states.  When moving, two-plate states (Maryland and Texas) had a read rate of 89%, and for one-plate states (Pennsylvania and Arizona) it was 22% and 58% on roadways connecting Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that the number of plates not read (excluded) on vehicles without two plates was 6% across the northern border and 3.4% across the southern border, noting that the difference between international borders is the presence of dual plate states between the U.S. and Mexico.

There is sure to be lively debate on the issue in the weeks and months to come. -CINEWS

Comments: 1

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  1. Seriously? This old chestnut? Ask your local police how many times a crime was solved by a front plate. Ask for the records. You already know what you’ll find — no evidence that front plates assist in any sort of policework. Are the 40% of all states and provinces in North America that don’t issue front plates experiencing a rash of unsolved crimes? Is there death and mayhem in their streets? Guess not…. Not one of them has decided to reintroduce front plates.

    In fact, Ohio, a state about the same size as Ontario, just last month decided that the value of front plates was so low, they would rather put their $2m per year towards better causes, like school lunches or fixing potholes.

    Ask the corollary — would you, as a Police Department, be willing to sacrifice a small portion of your yearly budget to offset the cost of equipping everyone with front plates in the name of public safety? Again, you know the answer.

    The answer is simply that Front Plates are a needless waste of resources, contributing to global warming through wasted natural resources (You can make approximately one train locomotive per year on what you waste for front plates in a year) , making cars a little less efficient and thus wasting energy, and, let’s face it, making cars ugly.

    What’s the point? It’s time to do the right thing and put money to better use.

    Shame on the police who try to pander to the public’s fear of crime with no statistics or foundation in fact. Shame on them.