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New law forces Chicago dealers to lock keys, license plates

September 22, 2017
The Chicago City Council on Sept. 13 passed legislation requiring the city’s car dealers to lock up keys and license plates after business hours. Airport rental car agencies are exempt from the measure.
The new ordinance requires all keys maintained by Chicago car dealers to be "placed in a secure lock-box inside the salesroom or rental building at all times" when the facility is not open for business.
Special dealer plates issued by the Illinois secretary of state’s office must be attached to vehicles by "tamper-resistant security screws" or placed in a secure lock-box inside the salesroom when the facility is closed.
The Chicago Police Department’s Major Auto Theft Investigative Unit pushed for a mandate covering car dealers and rental car agencies to stop an epidemic of vehicle thefts in recent months. The new law does not address incidents of car thefts during business hours, some of which happened ina a rash in the last year.
The rental car industry in August demanded a carve-out for airport operations "due to the volume of cars" rented and dropped off by passengers at O’Hare and Midway airports. The appeal before a city council committee was made by attorney John Daley, son of Cook County Commissioner John Daley and nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
"The act of removing the keys and plates and giving them back to customers will hinder the experience at the airport and inconvenience customers," Daley said.
Instead of locking up the keys and plates, airport rental car agencies will be required to hold quarterly meetings with Chicago Police to review their security plans and address police concerns.