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Effective Wednesday, Jan. 19, Albertans will have to report lost or stolen licence plates to the police before getting a new plate from a registry office. The government says the changes will accelerate auto theft investigations and protect officers and the public.
“Requiring a police report for a lost or stolen licence plate is a common-sense change to make,” said Minister of Service Alberta Nate Guberish. “In doing so, we are ensuring police have accurate information that can better help them when interacting with motorists and is crucial for an investigation.”
Last year, the province did a test pilot of the process at 12 Alberta registry agent offices. That recommendation comes from the Provincial Auto Theft Review Committee.
“It is common practice for criminals to disguise their stolen vehicles by attaching an unreported stolen plate associated to a vehicle of a similar make and model,” said Calgary Police Chief and President of the Alberta Chiefs of Police Mark Neufeld. “This tactic allows auto thieves to engage in high-risk criminal activities undetected. This includes dangerous driving, hit-and-run collisions, robberies and break and enters. Mandatory reporting of lost and stolen licence plates will go a long way to making life more difficult for thieves and help keep Albertans safe.”
Starting Wednesday, Albertans requesting a replacement for their lost or stolen plate will have to present a police file number before obtaining the new plate.
In 2020, registry agents issued 30,687 replacements for lost plates and 15,620 replacements for stolen plates.
The province says the change does not apply to personalized licence plates, which are issued in pairs. In that case, a lost or stolen personalized plate requires the Albertan to return the other plate, rendering the plate configuration unusable.