Friday, December 26, 2008
Albany, New York Tries To Do The Right Thing And Avoid Predatory Towing
First of all, kudos to Albany, New York, which is at least TRYING to avoid towing massive numbers of vehicles being towed after the recent, pre-holiday snow storm. In Albany, according to this article, (click here) police officers were...
...actually looking up plate numbers, then knocking on doors to alert residents they should "move it or lose it." I've written before about cities trying to use more humane towing tactics, notably in Montreal and Madison, Wisconsin.
However, the tactic of running plates and knocking on doors--though clever, and certainly a lifesaver to those individuals who were notified in this way--is a rather inefficient use of police resources. Imagine if police had a device which allowed them to enter the plate number of a vehicle...and, instantly, there would be a phone call and email sent to the owner of the vehicle, warning them to "move it or lose it?"
Yes, police could still knock on doors...but as a last resort, after the more efficient and high-tech tactic failed to reach the owner of the vehicle. Ultimately, no matter how you slice it, some vehicles will get towed. That's when it becomes important to track vehicle data on the internet, in real time.
But there seems to be an encouraging trend taking root, and maybe it has something to do with the tough economy, ironically enough. Public officials know citizens are hurting. And having your car towed--particularly right before Christmas--is an unkind cut, and best avoided entirely.