Junk car owners will soon receive $250 tickets

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - West Memphis police officers are cracking down on junk cars left in city neighborhoods.

West Memphis Police Department put a junk car enforcement program in place a few months ago, but now the warning phase is expiring and people will start getting tickets.

"There's actually a lot of them that are literally rusted to the point where they're just a shell," Captain Joe Baker said of the junk cars abandoned in and around West Memphis.

It's an old ordinance on the books in West Memphis, but it's one that's getting a new eye.

"That was one of the residents key things they wanted us to look at was the cars," Baker said.

Oversight of code enforcement related ordinances came back under the purview of the police department earlier this year.

As a result of citizen complaints, the department decided to enforce the blighted vehicle policy. The department's first count yielded more than 600 vehicles across the city.

Baker said his department issued three rounds of warning citations. He said compliance is somewhere between 65 and 70 percent.

Through the warning phase, the city even offered vehicle or property owners the names of tow truck companies who would move the cars for free.

"A lot of these people are elderly, didn't even want the car, just didn't know what to do with it," Baker said.

One resident who didn't want to be identified said she didn't think the policy was fair. She said if someone owns the car, it should be able to sit in their yard.
Police said the car can sit anywhere the owner would like. However, by June 14, that owner could be handed a $250 ticket and a court summons.

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