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Proposed Bill Would Pay Bounty For Reporting Illegal Parking

New York, NY – A New York City councilman has proposed legislation that would incentivize citizens to report illegal parking by giving them a percentage of the fine for the ticket.

City Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) introduced a bill that would encourage New Yorkers to report illegal parking in certain bike lanes, bus lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks, the New York Post reported.

The proposed law would give the snitch a 25 percent cut of the fine that the car owner ultimately has to pay.

The new law, if passed, would only apply to vehicles that are parked within 1,320 feet of a school, the New York Post reported.

But the proposed bill included New York Police Department (NYPD) vehicles and cars with government license plates.

Citizens would be encouraged to target vehicles that are parked illegally in certain bike lanes, bus lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks, the New York Post reported.

However, cars reported for parking too close to fire hydrants don’t qualify for a financial reward.

Levin said he wrote the bill because NYPD wasn’t doing anything to curb the city’s parking problem.

“I tried for years to get the police department to really do some real enforcement,” he told the New York Post. “At this point, it just seems like the most effective way to address it is to have the public enforce it themselves.”

The Brooklyn councilman said he modeled his proposed legislation on an existing initiative that pays citizens to report idling vehicles on city streets.

Snitches have collected $183,000 in 2020 as a result of that law, according to Streetsblog.

“I’m hoping the fine is enough of a disincentive that people don’t do it anymore,” Levin told the New York Post.

The NYPD Sergeant’s Benevolent Association (SBA) poked fun at the proposed bill on social media.

“Imagine if every cop wrote a summons to every vehicle parked illegally or vehicles that are in violation of the vehicle and traffic laws,” the union tweeted. “We could probably bail out NYC, NYS and even feed the homeless. Everyone will then get exactly what they ask for.”

“Great idea! Glad to see you’re in favor of ticketing cop cars parked illegally and using fake placards,” Brooklyn bike advocate Doug Gordon tweeted in reply.

There has been a long-standing battle over the way police park when responding to calls in the city, aggravated by allegations of officers using official police parking placards to avoid tickets when they’re not on duty.

The fact that NYPD vehicles on patrol are included in the proposed law has some officers really angry at the city council because lawmakers know how outrageously bad the parking problem is citywide, a NYPD source told The Police Tribune.

“Officers are going to be telling the dispatcher that they’ll be on the scene for a call in a little bit because they’re circling the block trying to find parking,” the officer said.

“I hope cops start doing that around city hall and all the offices of city councilmembers,” he suggested. “They’ll be like ‘I’m suddenly getting all these parking tickets now, what’s going on?’ because none of them park legally all the time. And they’ll be calling precinct commanders to complain.”

“This city has its priorities so backwards that it’s astounding,” he continued. “The crime rate is out of control, they have blood running through the streets because they’ve handcuffed the police, and now they want to worry about bike lanes? Do they really want to go after this?”

He also expressed concern that people would use the new law as a harassment tool.

“It’s just pettiness and nobody has time for this nonsense when people are getting shot in record numbers,” the officer told The Police Tribune.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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