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306% jump in crimes involving vehicles with these illegal tags in Harris County

Fake paper tags have cost the county about $80 million over the past six years  

306% jump in crimes involving vehicles with these illegal tags in Harris County

Harris County tagged interest

Fraudulent paper plate tags have quickly become a big problem in Harris County and on Tuesday morning, Judge Lina Hidalgo and commissioner Adrian Garcia will discuss the findings of a new report.

Fake paper tags have resulted in a loss of an estimated $80 million for the county over the past six years, according to data from the report. With at least 1.8 million cars statewide without real plates on their cars, the state is losing about $125 million on registration fees every year.

For example, when you have fake tags on the toll road, you cannot be tracked down for payment. You can also avoid paying registration fees and title fees with these fake tags.

Other reasons people may have them are if the owner is flagged for not paying child support. Law enforcement said it is also safe to assume that many of the cars without valid plates are not carrying valid insurance. Despite having uninsured motorist insurance, getting into a crash with an uninsured driver could raise monthly costs.

Data shows there was a 306% jump in crimes involving cars with these illegal tags.

Crimes like speeding, theft and burglary are examples of what these cars and their drivers have been involved in.

There was a major jump in numbers from 2016, where there was about 1,700 of these known incidents and in 2021 almost 7,000.

ABC13 has been taking a closer look at this issue for a while and found local agencies are cracking down.

Officers with the Harris County Toll Road Authority have been stopping drivers with paper tags to make sure they are legitimate and have found in many cases, the tags are fake.

About two weeks ago we actually stopped a Dodge challenger that actually had a fictitious tag. The person who stole this challenger actually put a hard plate on there because he knew on the toll road we were pulling people over for fictitious tags,” said Precinct 5 Sgt. Alex Gonzalez.

April 26, 2022

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