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City Getting Aggressive With Abandon Cars



Date: September 21, 2016
Released By: Mayor Barton
Subject: Abandoned Vehicles

In response to a growing number of concerns from citizens the City of Crawfordsville will conduct a sweep and will be increasing enforcement of laws relating to abandoned vehicles as outlined below.

Abandoned Vehicles are Public Nuisance and Health Hazard. Abandoned, unlicensed, inoperable, disassembled, wrecked, or junked motor vehicles on both public and private property pose a threat to the public health. Abandoned vehicles create a number of public health issues, which include vermin and animal infestation, the danger of personal injury to children attracted to these vehicles, the threat of fire stored gasoline and oil, and harms to the environment from leaking fuel and oil. As a community, we must therefore work together to address this issue.

What is an “abandoned vehicles”? Crawfordsville city ordinance has adopted state law that makes it illegal to abandon a vehicle on public or private property. State law defines an abandoned vehicle as, "a vehicle that is three (3) or more model years old and mechanically inoperable, and is left on private property for more than twenty (20) days." Other vehicles that would be considered “abandoned” include:

(1) A vehicle located on public property illegally.

(2) A vehicle left on public property without being moved for twenty-four (24) hours.

(3) A vehicle located on public property in such a manner as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the movement of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on a public right-of-way.

(4) A vehicle that has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of that property for more than forty-eight (48) hours.

(5) A vehicle from which the engine, transmission, or differential has been removed or that is otherwise partially dismantled or inoperable and left on public property.

(6) A vehicle that has been removed by a towing service or public agency upon request of an officer enforcing a statute or an ordinance other than this chapter if the impounded vehicle is not claimed or redeemed by the owner or the owner's agent within twenty (20) days after the vehicle's removal.

(7) A vehicle that is at least three (3) model years old, is mechanically inoperable, and is left on private property continuously in a location visible from public property for more than twenty (20) days. For purposes of this subdivision, a vehicle covered by a tarpaulin or other plastic, vinyl, rubber, cloth, or textile covering is considered to be visible.

(8) A vehicle:

(A) that was repaired or stored at the request of the owner;

(B) that has not been claimed by the owner; and

(C) for which the reasonable value of the charges associated with the repair or storage remain unpaid more than thirty (30) days after the date on which the repair work is completed or the vehicle is first stored.

Indiana Code § 9-13-2-1.

Abandoned Vehicles on Public Property. If the Crawfordsville Police Department or another law enforcement agency tags a vehicle on public property and does not move the vehicle in the prescribed time frame, the vehicle owner will be subject to potential fines as well as towing and storage costs under the Indiana Abandoned Vehicle code. Please see Indiana Code § 9-22-1, and following. The City Code Enforcement Officer is also authorized to tag vehicles on public property.

Abandoned Vehicles on Private Property. If either CPD or the Code Officer tags a vehicle believed to be abandoned on private property, the property owner or vehicle’s owner, or both, will be given specific time periods within which he or she must make an appointment with the City to show that the vehicle is operable or that it has been removed. If the owner fails to do so, he or she will be subject to the city’s code enforcement procedures, which may result in daily fines and costs, which include towing, storage, and the city’s attorneys’ fees incurred in enforcing the City Code.

Abandoned Vehicle to Report. To make a complaint about an abandoned vehicle, please call (765) 364-5193. The City Code Officer will be sent out within the next 2 working days to check the complaint. If you would like to submit a complaint electronically, you may do so at

Please provide the following information when reporting an abandoned vehicle:
1. Address where the vehicle is located. (Exact address please.)
2. Is car in the grass or in the driveway?
3. Type, color, and year of car (if possible).
4. If available, a plate number would be helpful.

Waiver to Remove an Abandoned Vehicle from Property
If you are a property owner and there is an abandoned vehicle that you would like to have removed, you can sign a waiver asking for the vehicle to be removed. We will then tag the vehicle and remove it if it is still there after 3 days.

Voluntary Compliance and Clean-Up. The City of Crawfordsville is in the process of investigating abandoned vehicles within the City’s jurisdiction. The City intends to initiate an aggressive enforcement policy regarding abandoned vehicles beginning Wednesday, October 12, 2016. We are hopeful that members of our city community will use this grace period to voluntarily remove the hundreds of vehicles we’ve already identified or received complaints about. Addressing these abandoned vehicles is an important step to beautifying and building a healthier and safer community.