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Move Your Vehicle -- What are my rights?

September 18th

Hi Bill,

I live up in the hills on a quiet street in Tujunga.

I have only seen a cop car on my street once in five years. My neighbors across the street are nice. But, they always park on my side right in front of my house.

I have big trees that provide lots of shade when it's hot out!

Sometimes they will have a car parked for weeks at a time. This is frustrating for me because they take up both sides of the street with cars!

I don't want to say anything to them that would cause bad vibes, but I feel it is not polite to watch as I lug small children and groceries up the street to get to my home.

What are my rights? Can I have them towed after a certain amount of time?

Thank you,

A. Jones


Reply: from Bill Murray - - LA Community Policing
Re: Move Your Vehicle --
What are my rights?

Dear A. Jones:

While I understand your frustration at the fact that your "nice" neighbors are "impolite" when they park directly in front of your house, there's not a great deal you can do unless the car is left there a long time ... and then there's something you can do.

Since you didn't indicate otherwise, I'm assuming for the sake of this response there aren't "No Parking" signs on your block.

Unmarked streets in Los Angeles are public spaces, and anyone can use them. It's pretty much a case of "first-come, first-serve." And parking in most areas is at a premium.

I live on a block where we know each other, and over time we have "claimed" specific spots we prefer, generally in front of our own houses. For the most part we simply avoid parking in each other's spaces.

But this is just a matter of common courtesy. When someone parks in "my" spot I have to park in an unfamiliar space and walk back. If there was a repeated problem with one of my neighbors I'd be inclined to try to say something to him first.

Even though there's no way to reserve your spot for yourself, there are rules about how long a vehicle can remain parked in any public locale in Los Angeles. Basically every car must be moved each 72 hours.

Although this rule is most often used against abandoned cars, it applies to all vehicles on city streets.

The Department of Transportation has the responsibility for Parking Enforcement, so they, not the LAPD, will take complaints and assign someone to come around to take a look at the car in question.

Usually a bright green card is affixed to the windshield of the vehicle explaining that the owner has 72 hours to move it (and I believe there's still a requirement it be driven one mile, but it can be returned to the same street). They'll come back three days later to see if the car's still there, at which point it can be towed.

I used the search function on the LA City website (I entered the phrase parking AND 72), which returned the following results:

Citywide Service Directory

City Service: 877 ASK-LAPD - Non-emergency Police Service

Service Detail: How Can I Report An Abandoned Car?

A person may call his or her local police station or the Parking Violations Bureau, Department of Transportation, at 1-800-ABANDON, to report an abandoned vehicle. An officer from the Parking Violations Bureau will be dispatched and will issue a parking citation. The officer will return after a 72-hour period. If the vehicle has not been moved, the officer will impound the vehicle. There is additional information online at

By the way, I know all this from first hand experience, and believe me it makes a person conscious of the 72 hour rule to find a green card on the windshield a couple of times (and an even bigger impression if your car is towed).

Hope this answers your question. Thanks for writing!

Yours in service,

Bill Murray

LA Community Policing

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