Renting a vehicle? City councilor wants your info sent to cops

Police find the rental car that was used in the Mattapan Shootings last year.

Citing a regular use of rental cars to commit crimes throughout the Hub, the City Council is examining a measure that would make the names of those renting a vehicle available to police.

“We have a whole slew of cars out there [and] Boston Police have no idea who is behind the wheel,” said City Councilor Rob Consalvo who proposed the ordinance. “The bad guys … are aware their names can’t be traced quickly.”

Consalvo recently proposed the measure that will be the subject of a hearing of the council’s Public Safety Committee later this month.

Criminals have used rental cars to commit crimes such as drug dealing, prostitution and shootings in order to help create a delay before police possibly catch up to them, Consalvo and police said.

The measure would fix that, officials said, because it would allow police to call up the name of the renter in a database and save valuable investigation time.

Currently, Consalvo said, police must reach out to rental companies for information if they suspect a rental car has been used in committing a crime. An old state law even requires that the information sought by police be done so during regular business hours and be provided in writing.

But with new advancements in technology and much of the information computerized, Consalvo said that he views the issue as a “no-brainer.”

“Whatever loopholes we can close to make it safer, we’re going to look at it,” he said.

Last year, a rental car was the subject of a search for suspects related to the murder of four people, including a 2-year-old, in Mattapan.

Police have reported other incidents in the past  during which traffic stops of rental cars have led to the recovery of illegal guns.

BPD spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said police welcome any initiative that helps them solve crimes.
“We appreciate Councilor Consalvo’s ongoing commitment to public safety,” she said.


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