Politics
6:15 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

Detroit tests one solution to car crimes: a street parking ban

Detroit Police say car break-ins are up in the city’s entertainment district. So they’re trying a new approach to prevent crime: banning street parking in the area.

A lot of people—Detroit Police won’t yet say how many—got their cars towed last weekend as a result of the parking ban.

Police officially issued the ban late on Friday:

"The Detroit Police Department in partnership with Olympia Entertainment, have decided to eliminate street parking for this weekend. Olympia has agreed to reduce parking rates on their lots, due to an increase in larcenies from motor vehicles. The Detroit Police will increase patrol as well as enforce parking on public streets within the listed boundaries. The goal is to reduce the number of break-ins and move parking to a well lit parking area."

But Farrok Sabeti, a manager at the Bucharest Grill, says he didn’t know what was going on until an employee told him cars were getting towed.

"Seeing as how we own a business down here, we should have been the first people to find out about this," Sabeti says. "These signssome of them are written in marker, or pencil. I went through the day without even noticing it.”

Joe Kvoriak, manager at the neighboring Park Bar, says an Olympia employee informed him what was going on, and offered his employees free parking. Still, he's not sure it’s a good way to fight the bigger theft problem.

“It just doesn’t seem effective because eventually, cars are going to go back on the streets," Kvoriak says. "People should be allowed to park on the street, if they're following the rules.”

Detroit Police say they’ll refund the towing fees for vehicles that were towed before all the “no parking” signs were posted.

A Police spokesman says the department is testing the method to deal with the theft problem. He says they’ll evaluate data from this weekend’s “trial run” before moving forward.