ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s largest police department says it’s ready to crack down on a longtime problem highlighted by many Albuquerque drivers: cars without license plates. Starting next week, Albuquerque Police says teams of officers will begin focusing on the widespread issue through citywide patrols.

APD Chief Harold Medina highlighted the initiative in a video posted on APD’s social media channel’s Thursday, calling it a “consistent concern” that is reported to the department. While it’s just a $25 ticket for operating a vehicle without a proper plate in Albuquerque, Medina acknowledge a larger issue. Cars without proper license plates are sometimes an indication the driver may be trying to hide who they are.

“We know that other crimes are committed with the individuals who conceal their identity through not having a license plate on their vehicle,” Medina said. “We have license plate readers that help us solve crime all the time.”

While drivers might get pulled over for not having a license plate, APD says that sole offense is not one that officers can tow a car for. However, APD says other contributing factors could justify a car being towed, like drivers not having a valid license or a driver not having insurance for their vehicle.

APD says it will focus two teams of officers on the license plate crackdown. Those include officers in the department’s specialized Traffic Division, as well as standard patrol officers in the Field Services Bureau.

In the world of plated vehicles, New Mexico lawmakers are considering a bill this legislative session to require front license plates on cars registered in New Mexico. House Bill 56, sponsored by Republican Rep. Bill Rehm and Democratic Rep. Gail Chasey (Albuquerque) was originally scheduled for committee debate today, but debate on that bill has been postponed.