While most people associate renting a car with a business trip, a family vacation, tourists visiting our great City of New York, there are times when cars are rented to commit a crime. Local New Yorkers may rent a car rather than use their own car or those coming from out of town may chose to rent a car here in New York City to conduct their “business”. Having been in the car rental business in New York City for 30 years, I have experienced individuals or groups of people renting cars to commit crimes ranging from drug dealing; both buying and selling; armed robbery, shop lifting, prostitution and others.
There are times our offices are visited by the New York City Police Department or other law enforcement officers inquiring who had a specific rental vehicle on a specific date. Before we ever release information we always verify the authenticity of the law enforcement officers and review all documentation they bring to our office.
From the perspective of the law enforcement community, the need to physically visit or contact the car rental company for the information on the renter can take a few hours or a few days. It involves the manpower of sending officers or detectives to the rental car office and hope there is someone on duty who can assist the authorities. Otherwise they need to wait and come back at a later date; all the while the alleged suspects have the time to flee.
This week, the City of Boston implemented a new law which requires all car rental companies to provide the Boston Police Department with the names of all car rental customers so the Police have all customer information available to them immediately and do not need to wait to contact the rent a car company.
While the idea sounds interesting, I wonder if New York City or New York State will ever implement such a policy governing New York City rent a car transactions. I wonder what the reactions would be of the New York Civil Liberties Union and other consumer advocates and those looking to preserve privacy.
It certainly will be interesting to see how the new law affects the crime rate and the ability of the Police to solve and apprehend criminals. I guess we just have to wait and see.
I thought our New York car and van rental customers would be interested in this latest development in the world of car and van rentals.