License plate theft becoming more common

In the past year, it appears that citizens of Rohnert Park have been experiencing an increased number of stolen license plates from vehicles and trailers.

The Department of Public Safety helps to inform our community in a productive and efficient manner while prioritizing the safety and protection of all Rohnert Park citizens and visitors. The Department of Public Safety provides both 24-hour police and fire services to the community.

“At this time, it does not appear to be a group,” said Crime Analyst Jill Kempf, who works for the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety. “The challenge is late reporting as people sometimes do not notice the plate is missing or know exactly where the theft happened.”

There are many reasons why people might steal license plates. These reasons include vehicles not being insured or not having current registration, camouflaging stolen vehicles, avoiding parking tickets, etc.

Law enforcement is also noticing an uprise in temporary license plates being stolen. Temporary license plates were created to be placed on new vehicles before being driven off the dealership lot and to assist law enforcement and toll agencies to help identify vehicles.

A major target for stolen license plates is work vehicles, because they are often parked in lots over the weekend. These vehicles, therefore, are often left unsupervised over the course of a couple of days.

“We are encouraging the community to take some simple preventative measures,” said Kempf. “There are products available to help deter theft. In the Nixle, we also provide the vehicle code section we ask people to follow.”

According to the Nixle report, a few preventatives include specialized plate frames and security screws for the license plates that are available on the commercial market. Purchasing these items is an easy way to avoid future expenses such as replacement of tags, plates, and tickets.

Although license plate theft is becoming increasingly more common within Rohnert Park city limits, it does not appear to be affecting Sonoma State. “I have not heard of or received any reports of license plates being stolen on campus,” said Sargent Nunes of the Sonoma State Campus Police. 

Sonoma State University parking service monitors have not received or caught any license plates being stolen on campus either. 

This is definitely a relief for many Sonoma State students and faculty. Sonoma State’s campus parking lots are patrolled daily by campus police and parking, therefore deterring crimes such as license plate theft. 

It is still recommended to all Rohnert Park citizens, including Sonoma State students, to take the extra security measures in order avoid and prevent license plate thefts.

Although there are no reports of license plate theft on the Sonoma State University campus, there have been frequent reports of crimes, such as petty theft, in the parking lots. The most recent occurrence took place on March 29 in Parking Lot R3.

Often times, this occurs when students leave their doors unlocked, windows down, and leave valuable items uncovered on their seats and in plain sight. Items that are frequently stolen in the parking lots are electronics and parking passes. 

Therefore, petty theft can be easily avoided when students and visitors are more conscious of their belongings and take the time to double check that their vehicles are locked and fully sealed.