Abandoned Vehicle Unit

A vehicle can be marked abandoned for two reasons: The Alameda Police Department receives a call reporting the vehicle as abandoned or stored on the street longer than 72 hours, or if an Officer observes the vehicle as such. Officers look for the following criteria when marking a vehicle: cobwebs, leaves and debris around the tires, debris on the vehicle, dirt, low tires, and missing and/or broken vehicle parts. Even if a vehicle is parked in front of the owner’s residence, registered and insured, the vehicle can still be considered abandoned or stored if it’s been parked in excess of 72 hours without being driven.

The Alameda Police Department will place an orange courtesy notice on the vehicle that explains the Alameda Municipal Code section. In most cases, the owner will be given 72 hours to either remove the vehicle from the street or drive it a minimum of one mile. The marking officer will return no sooner than 3 days to determine if the owner has complied.

If at the time, the vehicle has not been driven or moved, it will be towed and cited. The vehicle cannot be moved a few feet or across the street just to avoid the tow. The vehicle must be completely removed or actually driven for the officer to determine that it’s not just being stored on the street. The odometer will be checked and tires marked for proof of compliance.

If you are the owner of an abandoned or stored vehicle that was towed and you wish to claim it, you will have to take the following steps:

  • Pay a $125 release fee at the Alameda Police Department.
  • Provide identification and evidence you are the registered owner of the vehicle to be eligible for the release.
  • If your vehicle has expired registration, all fees must be paid to DMV before a vehicle release can be issued.

Owners must present the vehicle release to the tow company which will release the vehicle once the associated tow and storage fees have been paid. A&B Towing is the contract towing company for the Alameda Police Department. A&B Towing charges $110 for the initial tow and $36 per day for storage. There may be additional fees if your vehicle requires indoor storage or if you claim you vehicle after 5pm or on a weekend.

If you would like to report an abandoned vehicle, you may call the Abandoned Vehicle Hotline at (510) 337-8587. If you have any other questions regarding the AVA program or a marked vehicle, you may contact Technician Karen Timney at (510) 337-8587 or ktimney@alamedaca.gov