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Sullivan Insurance

Haverhill Mulling Crack Down On Out-Of-State License Plates

Some Haverhill city councilors are growing concerned about the number of illegally registered cars in their community, saying residents are heading to the Granite State to dodge steep Bay State registration fees and high auto insurance rates.

Now they want to do something about it.

City Councilor Robert Scatamacchia estimated the city is missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in auto excise revenue. He said he'd like the city to consider hiring a private investigator to catch people who illegally register out of state.

The city needs to consider the proposal because local police are understaffed and overworked, Scatamacchia told The Lawrence Eagle Tribune.

"I think we should at least discuss this," he said. "We're outsourcing to save money; maybe we should outsource to make money."

It's better for police to focus on going after serious felons, including drug dealers, and get them some help for illegally registered cars, he added.  

Police don't believe the proposal to hire a private investigator is the best route to handle the problem, said Police Sgt. John Arahovites. He noted that investigators lacked the authority to issue citations if an offender was caught.

The plan may end up being too costly for taxpayers, he said.  

"With the money they would spend for a private investigator, they could probably pay for a traffic and safety division," Arahovites said.

The proposal has been placed on Tuesday's city council agenda, Scatamacchia said.

City Councilor David Hall said he brought up this problem in the past. He said police have a tip line to report out of state offenders, but he's willing to consider more.

New Hampshire plates seem to be those most commonly used during illegal registration, but other states are probably involved, and each car is a loss in town revenue, said Scatamacchia.

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