ALERT – Due to COVID-19, the City of Santa Clara has temporarily suspended Abandoned Vehicle Abatement operations. While tow companies are considered an essential business, the current Health Order does not include businesses that store, dismantle or dispose of towed vehicles; as a result, there is no place to take an abandoned vehicle at this time.
In addition, the Police Department is also suspending enforcement for minor parking violations (e.g. residential parking permit, time zone, 72-hour parking violations, etc.); major parking violations (e.g. red zone, handicap parking, blocking a driveway, etc.) will continue to be enforced. It would be unfair to enforce minor parking violations to the public at this time as the Police Department is not currently conducting non-essential business (e.g. accepting new or renewal residential parking permit requests), and it is unreasonable to ask people to move a vehicle with the current Health Order requiring individuals to shelter-in-place.
If you suspect a possible abandoned vehicle is stolen, please call Public Safety Dispatchers via the non-emergency line at 408-615-5580 with the following information (e.g. location, vehicle make, model, color and license plate information).
Thank you for your patience and stay safe.
Following the Health Order to shelter-in-place, the City of Santa Clara will resume the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement program under the following guidelines:
The Santa Clara Police Department offers an Abandoned Vehicle Hotline, which allows citizens to report any vehicle(s) that they believe are abandoned. The hotline number is 408-615-4778 and is available 24 hours a day. We are pleased to announce that citizens can also report abandoned vehicles on line using the form found below. Please read the following before reporting a vehicle as abandoned. If you have already reported a vehicle via the hotline or online report, please do not submit a subsequent report.
An abandoned vehicle is defined as a vehicle that has been left on the street for more than 72 hours with the intent to abandon the vehicle. Police Department personnel use criteria such as having excessive dust, debris around the tires, cob webs around the fender wells (from the chassis to the ground), missing parts, flat tire, etc. This differs from owners using a public street to store their vehicle, exceeding the 72-hour parking restriction.
Once reported, the abandoned vehicle complaint is assigned to the Patrol Division’s Community Service Officers (CSO) to begin the abatement process. CSO makes every effort to respond within 4 business days. CSO will then take the necessary steps to ensure that the problem is resolved.
CSO will respond to the vehicle, assess whether the vehicle meets the abandon vehicle criteria, and has the discretion to either put an orange warning tag on the vehicle and mark the tires or mark the tires with no warning. If a vehicle has a prior complaint, anywhere in the city limits, it does not get a second warning sticker.
CSO will return to recheck any time after 72 hours, as time allows; typically, this recheck is within five (5) business days. At that time, the CSO may cite, tow or work with the registered owner by giving an extension of time for them to abate the vehicle.
If CSO requests the vehicle be towed, the tow company has 24 hours to pick up the vehicle once the request is made.
For other vehicle related parking violation complaints, please contact Public Safety Dispatchers non-emergency line at (408) 615-5580. These complaints would include limited time zone areas, designated handicapped spaces, painted colored curbs and signs, commercial vehicles parked within 300 ft. of residential property, blocking a driveway or someone living inside of a vehicle. Non-compliance will result in the issuance of citations and/or towing of the vehicle. All costs for citations, towing, storage fees, and city vehicle release fees must be paid by the vehicle owner before the vehicle will be released.
In addition, CSO may also respond to complaints regarding Santa Clara Municipal Code Section 10.10.010 which prohibits the storage of any abandoned, disabled, dismantled or inoperative vehicle(s) or parts thereof on private single-family residential properties in a location where they would be visible from the public right-of-way. Such violations may be declared to constitute a public nuisance for criminal, civil and/or administrative abatement actions. The complaints can typically take up to one month to be abated due to the private property aspect and laws requiring specific notifications of property owners, registered owners and legal owners involved.
Santa Clara Municipal Code Section 10.05.470 prohibits parking or storage of any vehicle(s) on a public street for more than 72 consecutive hours. Excluded from the City's abatement program are: any vehicle(s) parking or stored on private streets, commercial properties and/or rental housing properties, including parking lots. Under California Vehicle Code Section 22658, it is the financial and legal responsibility of the private property owner to deal with abandoned vehicles on their property.