Police

Hero Busts NYPD For Issuing Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Parking Tickets To Legally Parked Cars

No one fights parking tickets better than this guy.

One of the downsides of living in a city is that parking spaces are hard to find, forcing people to battle over parking. As a result, public areas need to be regulated so that there is enough space for everyone to share, and this means fines for those who abuse parking rules. New York is obviously one such city, and its police officers issue an immense amount of parking tickets to people who break the law. Only thing is, the law is usually something that a common citizen only has a partial understanding of.

Signs serve to help clarify some of the confusion for people who don’t know the rules, but on occasion it’s the police officer who is wrong. Thankfully New York City has an open data policy which allows for public access to government records. This allowed Ben Wellington of I Quant NY, a service that analyzes open data to look for discrepancies, to find a huge problem with New York City’s ticketing policies. In total the department incorrectly issued $1.7 million dollars worth of tickets per year over the span of 2.5 years for cars that were legally parked. Apparently the problem areas are curb ramps. Cars would park in front of them to take advantage of the open real estate in otherwise crowded areas.

This is usually illegal in many cities, but in New York the law states that a car can park in front of a ramp as long as there is no crosswalk. Thing is, these cars were still getting issued tickets. After doing a little digging it was found that while parking enforcement agents were well-trained in parking laws, run-of-the-mill patrol cops weren’t. It turns out that these officers were the ones writing all of the extra tickets. While Wellington didn't uncover an elaborate government scheme to make money his findings helped put a stop to a simple but expensive mistake, which led to a change in the police officer training program so that the problem isn’t repeated. If your city has an open data policy make do some homework if you want to fight a parking ticket.

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