Tag – You're a Car Thief

Metro credits license plate readers with reducing car thefts in Metro parking lots

You park your car in a Metro parking lot. You jump on a Metro train and head to work. You return at the end of the day, but to no car.

Someone has stolen it.

Metro Transit Police said that scenario is playing out less frequently these days thanks to its new tag readers.

The high-tech devices are mounted to the back of MTPD cars and help officers identify stolen cars and car thieves.

The tag reader system immediately processes license plate numbers through national and local databases and flags vehicles and people “of interest.”

The MTPD claims it’s working.

There were 152 stolen vehicles reported to the Metro Transit Police in 2009, down from 181 in 2008, according to a Metro press release. The number of attempted stolen vehicles and break-ins also fell to 79 in 2009, down from 101 in 2008.

The tag reader system can also verify vehicle registration information, individuals wanted for crimes, vehicles used in serious crimes, and vehicles or individuals on the national terror watch list. The readers also help coordinate efforts among police agencies in the region.

MTPD received eight tag readers in 2009 through a grant from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Other law enforcement agencies throughout the region use them as well.

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