Boise Gives Up on Ticket Collection, Justice

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Boise Gives Up on Ticket Collection, Justice

In Boise, Idaho, a huge backlog of unpaid parking tickets has cost the city almost a million dollars. An article on americancityandcountry.com reports that Boise officials have just written off 47,000 tickets that haven’t been paid and can’t be enforced. According to the article, the city can tow and send collection notices for unpaid parking tickets, but it can’t take the issue any further. City leaders have an interesting way of making up for the loss of income: selling items seized by police that have not been picked up by their owners.

Many items that were auctioned were stolen items that the original owners never claimed, according to Boise Weekly. Local law enforcement requires that owners claim items of theirs that have gone missing within 90 days, until the objects are turned over to an Idaho auctioneer.

The auction, held in August, included tools, guns, jewelry, motorcycles, automobiles, electronics, recreational vehicles and bicycles. The profits go to the general funds of Boise and Ada County.

At the risk of sounding like a 5th grader, I say that’s not fair!

Don’t get me wrong, I know the city can’t store these items forever, and in many cases, the owners are definitely never coming back. But for quite a few people, it might be that they just don’t know their belongings have been recovered. Why do people who break the law by parking illegally find such easy forgiveness, but people whose cars and jewelry and firearms are stolen have no choice but to make those items a donation to the city’s budget?

Probably, the abandonment of efforts to collect parking tickets and the choice to sell unclaimed items were separate decisions, but when you consider them together, it looks bad. The punishment for being the victim of a crime appears to be worse than the punishment for commiting one.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

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