By Gary Larkin
Mayor Eric Adams and members of the New York City 2022 Vehicle License Plate Task Force announced July 5 that they have begun a crackdown on illegal or obstructed license plates. As of July 3, the first checkpoint had produced 16,448 tickets, 1,700 vehicles towed and 2,478 vehicles seized.
Additionally, over time, the New York Sheriff’s Office has seized more than 800 vehicles since July 2021. Arrests involving such “ghost cars” that displayed temporary paper license plates rose to 3,568 in 2021, a 300% increase from 893 arrests in 2016. .
The crackdown, which was accompanied by a similar effort by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on bridge tolls and subway fare evasion, was first reported in The Riverdale Press.
“We tow ‘ghost cars’ because we know the drivers of these cars are doing no good,” Adams said. “The law goes after anyone who tries to make their car untraceable. We will not allow vehicles to be armed and our streets to be turned into a battlefield.”
Like the elusive firearms known as “ghost guns” that claim horrifying numbers of gunshot victims, ghost cars – vehicles bearing illegal and counterfeit license plates – are fueling an epidemic of virtually that are injuring and killing pedestrians, cyclists and our most vulnerable, according to a press release from the New York Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information.
This statement continued: State vehicle and traffic laws – as well as New York City traffic rules – are clear: license plates must be easily identifiable. Covering a car’s license plate with any material or substance that covers, obscures, or distorts it is illegal in New York. It is also illegal to sell such coatings within the city limits.
“An illegal license plate is not a trivial act,” said Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks. “It’s a clear indication that a person is unwilling to operate within the most basic legal framework of society. Ghost cars and the reckless behavior of their owners are a threat to every New Yorker on the road. I applaud the mayor’s efforts to address this problem head on.
New York Sheriff Anthony Miranda, who serves on the license plate task force, was happy to report on the progress of the crackdown. “Under Mayor Adams’ leadership, we’ve created a robust ghost car enforcement initiative that addresses a host of public safety concerns,” Miranda said. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we seized over 800 vehicles most of which had fictitious license plates from various state jurisdictions. During the inventory of these seized vehicles, we discovered five firearms, narcotics, false identification documents and dozens of false license plates inside these vehicles.
Vehicles with fraudulent or obstructed license plates towed by the NYPD and Sheriff’s Office are often not redeemed and sent to auction. About 25% of the 5,500 vehicles with paper license plates found in violation and towed by the NYPD Traffic Police District last year were abandoned by their owners. Until June 2022, 562 of the 1,646 towed vehicles with paper license plates have also not been exchanged. The Bronx, in both years, led the city in the number of such vehicles towed. Additionally, approximately 60% of vehicles with fraudulent plates seized by the sheriff’s office are auctioned off.
“The issue of ensuring that legitimate and legible license plates remain a viable tool in our collective efforts to keep streets safe demands our immediate attention,” said Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
Adams addresses the issue of lifeguards
In an effort to address the impact of the nationwide shortage of beach and pool lifeguards, Mayor Eric Adams announced on July 6 that he had reached an agreement to increase the starting salary of lifeguards in the city. at $19.46 per hour.
The agreement, which was reached with the lifeguards union represented by District 37, raises wages by $16 an hour this summer at the city’s 17 mini-pools. It would also fund a training program for first-time lifeguards.
“Every New Yorker deserves to safely enjoy our city’s public schools and beaches this summer and my team has taken extraordinary steps to make that happen,” Adams said in a statement.
“We have negotiated the creation of a lifeguard class limited to mini-pools, and with this influx of mini-pools, we will be able to open all of our mini-pools very quickly – an essential cooling center for young New- Yorkers.”
The only public swimming pool in greater Riverdale is operated by New York City Parks at Van Cortlandt Park. According to Stephanie Ehrlich, executive director of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, the pool will be running at 50% for the foreseeable future.
“As you may have heard, there is currently a shortage of lifeguards across the country,” Ehrlich said.
“She added that the paddling pool will also be closed and that programs like Senior Swim, Learn to Swim and Lap Swim are also suspended. “Timed swim lessons will be the norm,” she said.
She asked for patience and cooperation as the park department tries to fill lifeguard positions. “Please be kind to the Parks Department employees who are working hard to fill in the gaps,” Ehrlich said.