Hochul and Adams Start Task Force to Crack Down on ‘Ghost Cars’

(IntegrityTimes.com) – Tuesday March 12, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams came together for a news conference announcing the new multi-agency task force to fight back against so-called ghost cars. These are vehicles with missing, modified or counterfeit license plates that are used to avoid tolls and penalties for traffic violations. According to officials, many of these vehicles are stolen, uninsured, or unregistered. CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Janno Lieber says that toll dodgers cost the region’s transit system about $50 million per year. These tolls are intended to be used to maintain, expand and modernize the transportation infrastructure.

However, the issue is more serious than even the staggering loss of funding from tolls and fines. Mayor Adams pointed out that law enforcement has noted a clear connection between the use of these illegal vehicles and violent crimes, such as hit-and-runs, shootings, and robberies. Adams asserted that these ghost vehicles are a menace to public safety and added that this initiative is vital to get them off the streets before criminals can do something dangerous with them.

Jeffrey Maddrey, from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), said that the task force may make sting operations a weekly or biweekly event. Governor Hochul claims that the safety of New Yorkers is the top priority, and the message she’d like people to take from the announcement of the crack-down on ghost vehicles is that people who chose to perpetrate the crime of altering license plates to avoid repercussions for illegal activity will be caught.

On Monday March 11, ahead of the public announcement, a multiagency sting operation focused on the issue of ghost cars resulted in eight arrests, 73 vehicles being impounded and 282 summons being issued. The operation involved about 150 officers using license plate reader technology, visual inspections as well as other methods to spot the phony plates along three river crossings entering Manhattan. Commenting on the success of the sting, Governor Hochul quipped that the “Ghostbusters” had arrived.

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