‘It’s an alarming rate:’ Denver police look to cut down on license plate thefts

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DENVER -- When’s the last time you checked the screws on your license plate?

The Denver Police Department said more plates are being stolen, an average that’s climbed to nearly 10 a day.

“People don’t think about it, they don’t realize it,” Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said. “Did you walk out to your car this morning and see if your plates are there? Most people don’t.”

Already this year, 1,296 plates have been reported stolen to Denver police.

Jackson said thieves are using those plates on other cars.

“What we’re finding is individuals are taking the plates, and either putting them on their car, or another car, or they’re taking the plates and putting them on a stolen car and then going out and committing thefts or crimes," he said.

Jackson said the thefts take just a matter of seconds.

“People are like what the heck happened? My plates are gone,” he said.

Police are handing out free special screws at all six district stations. The screws have unique heads that require a special bit to take off or put on.

“It’s not going to ever prevent it totally, but it is a deterrent,” Jackson said. “It’s something that’s going to slow them down. It’s something that’s not common, where any guy walking around with a screwdriver or wrench can take your screws.”

You’ll have to return to a police station to have the screws taken off, such as if you sell your car.

A set of screws with a unique bit can be bought online for about $10.

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