Edmonton police are reporting a nearly 50 per cent increase in license plate thefts in the city this year.

Police say as of last month, 233 license plate thefts had been reported, compared to 158 in July of 2011.

“Aside from the inconvenience of finding your vehicle suddenly without a plate, there is the cost of replacing it,” said T/A Sgt. Dean Dukart with the Edmonton Police Service. “What would be more alarming is to have an unexpected visit from police because your license plate was on a vehicle used in connection with a crime or a traffic offence.”

Police will now be conducting information sessions at Kingsway Mall over the next few weeks for the public to help address the problem.

Police will be patrolling the mall parking lot on Monday from 2 to 5 p.m. where drivers can get the screws on their license plates changed out.