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Keep my registration sticker where it belongs
June 23, 2009 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Foolproof way to prevent registration sticker theft?

I recently visited some friends in the city, and at some point during the night my car's registration sticker (on my license plate) was stolen. I found a $40 ticket on my windshield the next morning for an expired registration. Fun.

The DMV's sending me a new sticker, and I'm appealing the ticket. No big deal for now, but I really don't want to have to deal with this more than once. I'll definitely be parking in this area again, and street parking is the only option. Has anyone come up with any good ways to make sure your registration sticker stays where it is? Clear packing tape? Some additional adhesive? Thanks!
posted by oinopaponton to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Draw many lines through it with an X-Acto knife, so the most they'll get is a little piece.
posted by sageleaf at 12:25 PM on June 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


Suggestion is to take an Exacto or craft knife and segment the sticker when it is in place. Anyone who tries to peel it off will get a jigsaw puzzle that will be difficult to stick on their license plate. Also - cut the corners diagonally, so when they start to peel - only the corner will come away and let them know what to expect.
posted by clarkie666 at 12:27 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Brush some superglue around the edges so the thieves can't get their fingernails under the edge easily.
posted by ian1977 at 12:28 PM on June 23, 2009


Exacto being a cheap Chinese knockoff of X-Acto™ of course.
posted by clarkie666 at 12:29 PM on June 23, 2009


Ingenious! Thanks!
posted by oinopaponton at 12:37 PM on June 23, 2009


Google "license plate shield" and you'll get plenty of clear acrylic products which screw over the plate.
posted by JJ86 at 12:39 PM on June 23, 2009


I usually spray dull clearcoat spray paint over the whole plate, so it's not blindingly reflective, and so there's a layer of..stuff... to peel through, as well.
posted by notsnot at 12:47 PM on June 23, 2009


clarkie666: "Suggestion is to take an Exacto or craft knife and segment the sticker when it is in place. Anyone who tries to peel it off will get a jigsaw puzzle that will be difficult to stick on their license plate. Also - cut the corners diagonally, so when they start to peel - only the corner will come away and let them know what to expect."

N-thing. My inspection place specifically recommended this tactic to deal with local sticker thefts.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:19 PM on June 23, 2009


The first thing you need to do, is make sure that you completely remove the old sticker(s) underneath, with a pen-knife if needed, so the new sticker goes onto naked metal. When stickers are lost to theft, most often it happens because the thief has an easy way of using a pocket knife to dig under the accumulated thick layer of old stickers - people get lazy and just put the new sticker on top of the old, and that allows the thief to easily remove the whole shebang. Then, make sure that you spread the sticker onto the given space, not over the edge, where again, a thief can get purchase under the sticker with a pen-knife. Finally, use the flat of your fingernail to really press the sticker in place. These three simple measures will let you keep your new sticker. Speaking from experience here.
posted by VikingSword at 1:40 PM on June 23, 2009


Just to emphasize - slicing the new sticker with an exacto will do nothing, if you don't remove the old layers of stickers, because the thief will just remove the new sticker stuck to the old layer, so it will not come apart. It is critical to remove the old layer of stickers.
posted by VikingSword at 1:42 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure slicing the sticker is really going to prevent anything. Somebody tried to steakmine, but when they couldn't they just destroyed what was left of the sticker.
posted by damionbroadaway at 1:51 PM on June 23, 2009


The only foolproof way to prevent registration sticker theft is to stop driving a vehicle that requires registration stickers. A while back I remember that thieves were using tinsnips to cut the entire corner off the license plate, rather than taking the time to peel the sticker.
posted by Jeff Howard at 2:39 PM on June 23, 2009


My inspection place specifically recommended this tactic to deal with local sticker thefts.

And smart states just do this to the sticker itself. I know CT does it to the in-car windshield, since it comes off in diamond shaped bits.
posted by smackfu at 2:52 PM on June 23, 2009


CT did go to windshield registration stickers after a statewide rash of snipped plates. Thieves were finding it easier to take tinsnips to plates and deal with the messy business of removing the stickers elsewhere. Once this happened to enough people and drivers started moving their rear plate inside the back window of their car to protect the sticker, the state finally acknowledged the problem and made the change.

The above precautions are good, but also be aware of where you park. Pull up close to a building whenever possible to make the sticker inaccessible, park in brightly lit areas or somewhere in full view of security cameras. Anything that makes your car seem like a less attractive target.
posted by contrariwise at 4:07 PM on June 23, 2009


I put "Goop" glue underneath the sticker, then put the sticker on. This seems to glue it on better. Within the past few years Maryland has started scoring the stickers so that they only come off in pieces, and within the past year they started actually having the license plate number on the sticker. So, if you drive "ABC-123" the sticker has the year and the plate number on it so it's like "10" and underneath it says "ABC123." This must be because of sticker theft.. But, I don't know if cops actually would notice this, though.
posted by majikstreet at 4:12 PM on June 23, 2009


Google "license plate shield" and you'll get plenty of clear acrylic products which screw over the plate.

Please be aware that some states and/or municipalities forbid the use of anything that is a "shield" over the plate (like an acrylic cover).
Michigan is one such state, but I see them all the time.
posted by Drasher at 7:48 AM on June 24, 2009


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