3 tips to thwart license-plate thieves

person unscrewing license plateA few years ago I dropped my boat off for repair at a marine shop, which parked it outside after completing the work. When I returned to pick it up, I noticed something was missing from the trailer: my license plate.

Apparently, a thief had stolen it to use on his own trailer. I had to buy a replacement plate.

The Oregonian offers simple tips for how to thwart would-be crooks. This follows a rash of recent license-plate thefts from vehicles in the Portland area.

  1. Strip your screws. Most plates are screwed directly into the bumper, or into plastic inserts embedded in sheet metal. If yours are standard slotted screws, replace them with Phillips or hex screws. Then drill out the heads just enough to strip the slots.

  2. Don't use a license-plate frame. If you already do, get rid of it – a thief can pry the frame off without harming the plate.

  3. Slice your tab. At renewal each year, remove your old tab with a putty knife. Press the new tab on, then use a razor to slice it with a diagonal "X." That way the tab will come off in pieces if someone tries to steal just the tab.

drill A determined thief still can rip you off. But making it harder might deter a lazy thief who's looking for a quick, easy target.

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