90% Are Never Written


90% Are Never Written

When I spoke before the On Street Enforcement Association in Australia the Q and A session was more interesting that the speech (If you can believe that.)

One of the officers, having sat patiently through my “Shoupista” talk, raised his hand when the discussion moved to enforcement, without which, nothing works.

“Let’s tell the truth,” he said, “ninety percent of all citations are never written.” You could have heard a pin drop. Of course he was right.

Only about 10 percent of the people who violate the parking rules and regulations ever get caught. I used myself as an example. I know that when I scoff at putting a quarter in the meter or park in a “resident’s only” space, my chances of getting a ticket are about 1 in 10. Proof? Only my personal, non scientific experience.

This week I had lunch with Don Shoup at UCLA and he showed me a graph which was the result of a test done by the City of Los Angeles on Hollywood Boulevard. They were testing in street monitors that collected length of stay statistics.

The entire graph was the total amount of parking available in the test area. The bottom about 25% was green – that depicted space that was legitimately taken by car’s that were parked legally. The top about 25% was blank, space not taken by cars. The middle 50% showed space that was taken by cars parked illegally.

Two thirds of the cars parked on Hollywood Boulevard were parked illegally; it certainly says something about enforcement. Let’s face it. Those people knew absolutely their risk in getting a ticket was nil.

Before you ask, my guess is that the monitoring system simply tracked length of stay and those that stayed longer than legally possible were considered illegally parked. I don’t know whether or not these monitors were connected to the meters. It makes little difference for the purpose of this blog.

What this shows is that the city of Los Angeles is losing a whopping big number when it comes to 1) monies placed in meters and 2) citation revenue. It would seem to me that stationing a dozen enforcement officers in this 8 block area would return the investment many fold.

This doesn’t mention the “cruising” issue. Just think if all those spaces that were filled illegally were opened up how many people cruising around looking for convenient parking in front of the Chinese Theater or the Pantages would be off the street and many a traffic jam would be eliminated.

Ninety Percent aren’t written. Think back on your personal experience. How many times have you “run in” to the dry cleaners or Starbucks and not put any money in the meter? How many times have you come back to your car and seen that little red flag in the meter window? How many times have you parked in the “residential parking zone” in a neighborhood and not taken the time to go back to your car with the guest permit? Then think about the number of parking tickets you got last year. Gee, maybe it’s more than 90 percent.



John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. We did some work in London about a zillion years ago and yes a one in ten chance of getting a ticket is about right. It is amazing how difficult it is to get that figure believed though by those who “know” the truth.
    Of greater concern here (UK) is that if the driver knows how to play our system the chnces of paying the ticket got to one in thousands, hence the wheelclamp (denver boot)

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