Wednesday, February 21, 2001

City targets junked cars on streets

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A thousand abandoned or illegally parked cars are about to be towed off Cincinnati streets.

        If owners won't move their broken-down, unregistered and beat-up cars, Mayor Charlie Luken and Councilwoman Alicia Reece are promising today that the city will.

        Under a plan called Operation Clean Sweep, which will be unveiled today in front of a derelict vehicle parked on Central Avenue, the police department will identify cars and notify owners to take care of the problem.

        “Then starting on March 9 and on each Friday through April 7, the city will begin towing these cars,” Ms. Reece said Tuesday. “We hope to get 250 cars off the street each sweep.”

        Although the police division is supposed to issue citations for abandoned and illegally parked cars, Mr. Luken said it is a question of priority and focus.

        “I'm not critical. I know they have lots of other things to do,” he said. “But the cleanliness of neighborhoods is going to be more of an issue for police.”

        With council members focusing on neighborhoods, Mr. Luken said officers are going to be asked to focus on trash, illegal dumping and abandoned vehicles.

        After five weeks of towing cars to salvage yards and impound lots, where owners will have a chance to reclaim them, Ms. Reece said, the public safety department will have a person to monitor the problem.

        There will also be a number for residents to call and report abandoned cars and a link on the city's Web site —

        “Every neighborhood we go to we keep hearing about the cars. It's the same situation,” she said. “I've been shown cars that don't have license plates, have broken windows and are sitting on bricks.”


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