California Town Swamped By 14,000 Abandoned Cars

Screenshot: ABC7 Bay Area
Screenshot: ABC7 Bay Area

Oakland, California is struggling to deal with a deluge of abandoned vehicles across the city. According to the Oakland Department of Transportation, 13,856 cars were reported abandoned over a six-month period in 2023. The city ran out of space in its storage lots and is renting even more room to hold the excess. In total, Oakland is spending $1 million on storage. Anecdotally, car theft is the root of this problem.

ABC7 Bay Area reports the Oakland Police Department will not respond to calls about abandoned or stolen cars unless they are blocking a driveway. Residents are instead instructed to call 311, and to no one’s surprise, abandoned vehicles dominate service calls. Cars are just being dumped everywhere blocking ways into businesses and schools. Business owner Bruce Vong told the TV station, “Some park in front of the gate. I can’t even leave and if you intervene, they’ll shoot you.” Oakland City Council approved funding to hire more tow companies and use the state DOT’s vacant lots.

However, the measure doesn’t resolve the problem of getting the cars currently parked in the lots back to their owners. Just like in many other cities, the victims of car theft are the ones stuck with the tow bill. In some instances, cities will auction off cars that have been sitting in lots too long unclaimed. A woman in St. Louis had her Pontiac G6 sold without even being informed the car was found.

For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.