Los Angeles Parking Tickets Tumble

October 9, 2021

In August, the city of Los Angeles distributed 135,219 parking tickets. That can sound like a lot, especially when fines routinely run over $ 70 each. But it’s actually only a few drops in what was once a very large bucket.

In June, 150,106 tickets were handed out, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. And back in January 2020, before the start of the pandemic, 210,399 tickets were handed out at city limits.

Overall, it is a decrease of 35.7%. Nor does it appear that the number of citations stuck on windshields will soon return to numbers before coronavirus. One main reason: The city can not find enough people to write the tickets.

Work crime

According to the city ministry of transportation, there is currently a 23% vacancy rate among parking enforcement officials, making up about 76 vacancies.

The problem is not new. At the end of 2019, the department had a vacancy of 13%. But the numbers shot up early in the pandemic as the city, preparing for a potentially massive budget deficit, adopted an employment freeze and pushed for an early retirement program for municipal workers.

Now, an improved economy and a competitive job market — witnessing all of these “Now hiring” signs — make it even harder to recruit, especially for a high-load job like handing out parking tickets.

Department of Transportation Public Information Director Colin Sweeney said the department only recently began hiring. Since the city’s employment ban was lifted in September, it has only been able to hire six new officers.

“While vacancies are not evenly distributed across all our divisions, some services are affected more than others,” Sweeney said. “Such vacancies may limit our capacity to fully support some of the services provided by [traffic officers], such as traffic control at special events or answering parking complaints and other traffic control priorities. ”

Fewer fines

The number of parking tickets issued for violations involving blocking driveways and fire hydrants has actually been declining for several years.

The dip became a swan dive as COVID-19 swept over Los Angeles. With so many people sitting at home, the city relaxed most of its parking rules by March 2020. The number of citations handed out each month, which had routinely been over 170,000, slowed to a herring. In April 2020, fewer than 45,000 parking fines were issued.

With lax enforcement during the lockdown, people left their cars in the same place for several days at a time. Street sweepers could not access gutters as they used to. It began to create other unrest in the city, such as increasing populations of rodents.

In a note to the city council last October, the Ministry of Transport wrote: “After months without street sweeping, waste and debris built around immobile vehicles create a public health and safety concern from pests and rodent attacks.”

The number of parking tickets issued that month shot up to nearly pre-pandemic levels. But since then they have fallen steeply. It is unlikely that they will rise unless the city can quickly hire new officers.

Do not park Downtown

When it comes to where you most likely get a ticket, there are a few surprises. Far more quotes have been written in Downtown than any other neighborhood. The 110,460 tickets written there this year easily obscure the 64,080 handed out in Hollywood. The third most ticketed neighborhood through Sept. 30 is Westlake with 44,509.

While fewer tickets are being handed out these days, each ticket remains painful for the person who turns a corner and sees the talking envelope under their windshield wiper.

Jonathan Peasenelli last got a parking ticket when he exceeded the deadline in a Whole Foods parking lot.

Peasenelli was not happy about it, but he sympathizes with the officers who write tickets.

When working with parking enforcement, Peasenelli said, “You don’t get people to say, ‘Hey, thank you for the ticket.'” He added, “You get a lot of anger all day long, and it wears you down a little bit.”


Here’s how we did it: We examined data from the Ministry of Transport on traffic quotes issued during the first seven months of 2019 compared to the same time period last year. Learn more about our data here. Or write to us at askus@xtown.la.


Crosstown is a non-profit local news organization based in Los Angeles. They use data to provide significant insights to communities to help people make their neighborhoods safer, healthier and more connected. Sign up for their free weekly newsletter at xtown.la to get neighborhood-level data on crime, air quality and traffic delivered to your inbox.

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