An average of more than 100 complaints a month about abandoned vehicles — cars, trucks, boats, trailers, RVs and more — come into Petaluma police, and on Wednesday the city is taking action.

Police Lt. Tim Lyons says a total of eight officers from the Police Department’s traffic unit, from parking enforcement and from code enforcement will be hitting the city’s streets at 8 a.m. with the goal of going up and down every single street, looking for abandoned vehicles parked on the roads. They won’t check vehicles on driveways, he says.

It’s easy figuring out which ones have been abandoned, he says. Telltale signs are weeds growing up around the vehicles, dust and dirt on them, flat tires, a car cover may be in shreds, the registration is expired and it’s clear street sweepers have been going around them.

Lyons says the officers will ticket the vehicles, giving owners 72 hours to remove them or they’ll be towed when the officers come back to check. The officers also will be looking for vehicles with license registrations that expired more than six months ago.

So far this year, Petaluma police has received 1,140 complaints about abandoned vehicles — 105 just last month, Lyons says.

A similar abandoned vehicle crackdown in July by the police traffic unit resulted in 263 vehicles being cited, and he said 18 eventually were towed.

Owners with inoperable vehicles can arrange to have them donated to a local nonprofit or can call police at 778-4496 to arrange for them to be towed for free, Lyons says.


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