Car rental agencies and dealers forced to lock keys under proposal – O’Hare – Chicago

Car dealers and car rental companies are expected to close their keys on a proposal from the city council.
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CITY HALL – Car dealers and rental car agencies are expected to keep car keys and temporary license plates locked up under an ordinance approved by a city council committee on Thursday in an effort to tackle the auto theft.

The measure, passed by the council’s public safety committee, would require dealerships and car rental companies to keep car keys “in a secure safe inside the auction house building at all times. when the motor vehicle auction room is not open for business “.

In addition, temporary license plates issued to dealers should be “attached to a motor vehicle by tamper-proof security screws, or placed in a secure safe inside the auction house building.”

The ordinance was drafted in response to waves of cars driven from dealerships and rental lots over the past year, including a robbery in April that saw at least eight cars stolen from Hertz land at O ​​Airport ‘Hare.

Aldermen on the north side Harry Osterman (48th) and Patrick O’Connor (40th) co-wrote the measure after noticing an “explosion” of cars being driven from dealerships in their neighborhoods, Osterman said.

The ordinance was drafted to include rental lots at O’Hare and Midway airport, but its authors agreed to exempt the airport lots at the request of rental agencies, said the ‘alderman.

Instead, the measure requires rental agencies to hold regular meetings with city police to review a “security plan” to ward off thieves.

The continued deluge of rented cars at airports means they will have to be regulated differently from other lots in the city, Osterman said.

“Tens of thousands of cars are rented weekly and it’s a 24 hour operation, so physically locking a set of car keys isn’t as easy as a car dealership that closes at 6 a.m.” said Osterman. “So we think they meet with the police quarterly to review security operations… make sure we get to what we want to do.”

Airport rental companies have already taken “very proactive steps on their own” to secure their lots, preventing any “major incidents” since the Hertz flight in April, according to Sgt. Keith Blair, Chicago Police Department Auto Theft Division Chief.

Last month, when the measure was first introduced, Blair told board members that cars stolen from dealerships and rental car fleets have been used in “crimes of opportunity,” including a series of “on the run” robberies where a victim’s car is in the back, and when the victim comes out to inspect the damage, someone gets in the victim’s car and walks away with it.

The stolen cars have also been used in shootings and murders, Blair said.

The measure is expected to be approved by the full board at its next meeting in September.


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Pamela W. Robbins

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