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Study Predicts Over 28,000 Cars Will Be Abandoned in This California City

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Study Predicts Over 28,000 Cars Will Be Abandoned in This California City
Source: Pinterest

Study Predicts Over 28,000 Cars Will Be Abandoned in This California City

Source: Pinterest

Oakland, California, is facing an unusual problem. According to sources, there is an overwhelming amount of abandoned cars on its streets.

The Problem

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The city has tried to limit the amount of abandoned cars on the streets but they are too many. The former OakDOT Director Fred Keley and Parking and Mobility Manager Michael Ford have revealed the reason why the problem keeps getting worse with time.

The Bay Cities Are Affected

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Not only has the car abandonment rate increased, but the rate of carjackings have also skyrocketed. There are many recent online images showing the increased carjackings. However, this problem did not just start now. The Bay Cities have been battling this problem for years. The San Francisco Chronicle has also been tracking the reported car break-ins to have a good report of the incidents.

It Affects Lives Daily

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The problem of abandoned cars has caused significant disruption and discomfort for the residents of Oakland. Many of the stolen and abandoned cards are clogging the streets and obstructing access to people’s homes, businesses and even schools. The auto crime is also causing a lot of fear and disruption to the lives of its residents as it continues to get worse.

A “Staggering” Problem

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According to reports, Oakland received more than 11,000 private requests to pick up and move abandoned cars and trucks in just six months last year. This is a worrisome number as it is quite high for a city. According to Ford, the increase in abandoned cars is “staggering” and a huge cause of worry for the government and residents alike.

Demand Exceeds Capability

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As of this month, there are over 14,000 vehicles sitting and abandoned on the side of Oakland streets. What’s more, this number increases daily. The city has too many abandoned cars flooding its streets and it pays nearly $1 million every year in storage costs. In addition, the city lacks the resources it needs to tow all these vehicles successfully.

A State of Emergency

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Noel Gallo, a council member, recently declared a state of emergency in the city during the previous week’s Public Works and Transportation Committee meeting. This happened shortly after they received the report. The residents of the city are distraught as this problem is increasing the financial burden on the city, making them divert funds that are needed for educational and economic growth.

The Current Problem

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According to the report that Ford and Keley submitted, there are 7,000 abandoned vehicles simply sitting on the streets of Oakland. Therefore, Ford asked the Oakland City Council to help him double his team’s capacity to pick up these vehicles. He plans to relocate them from the central hub of the city.

The Role of the Oakland Police Department

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The Oakland Police Department was previously responsible for moving these abandoned vehicles away from the streets two years ago. However, the situation has only gotten worse over the years. The OPD assigned just three police staff to deal with thousands of moving requests. Therefore, it was quite difficult for them to achieve their goal and move these cars effectively.

OakDOT's Strategy

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In February 2023, OakDOT thought of a new strategy to deal with this problem. It established the Vehicle Enforcement Unit with a team that included one manager, an administrator, and 13 on-the-ground technicians.
Unlike the police team, the VEU has picked up and moved a lot more vehicles, even with a relatively small team with few hands on deck.

The “See Click Fix” System Is Not Working

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The requests to move abandoned vehicles are a lot more than the requests for illegal dumping in the city’s Oak311 “see click fix” system. Therefore, there is a level of imbalance that they need to correct. The see click fix” system allows residents of Oakland and many other cities in the state to report incidents to OakDOT through their website portal.

Oakland’s Teams Join Forces

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The Oakland Police Department, OakDOT’s vehicle enforcement unit, and Auto Plus Towing are collaborating to try to solve this problem. They continue to tow cars in the city, further removing vehicles after crashes and other crimes like stolen cars. At the Council meeting, Ford informed them that OakDOT had successfully towed nearly 60 percent of vehicles in the first nine months of operations.

OakDOT Seeks to Expand

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Between June and November 2023, OakDOT reported 13,856 service requests for abandoned vehicles and 10,983 for illegal dumping. According to Ford, these requests accounted for about 70 percent of the 36,000 service requests that were submitted to Oak311. Both Ford and Keley are hoping to hire more employees that will help them increase their work rate as their wages increase as well.