About 180 vehicles have been towed from a private lot at 1000 Main Street in downtown Hartford. The lot, next to Interstate 84, is the number one spot for tows in the city— usually between midnight and 5 a.m.
The second-most common location is at 200 Bloomfield Avenue by the University of Hartford where almost 160 vehicles were taken, most frequently at 4 p.m.
The data comes from the Hartford Police Department’s 9–1–1 database.
The reasons for being towed and tracked in the database include:
- A parking scofflaw (Excessive parking tickets)
- Stolen vehicle or vehicle involved in a crime
- An emergency situation like a water main break or a snow ban
- A tow from a private parking lot
The data is exported into a text file every hour — and from there the data is exported into the portal every hour, which Zagaja scrapes and turned into an app.
Trend CT took a deeper look at what could be learned from the data.
More than 20,000 vehicles have been towed in Hartford since 2015.
That’s at least $1.8 million in towing charges based on the minimum allowable rate for non-consensual towing set by the state.
Vehicles towed are most-frequently at least 10 years old. The most common year for vehicles towed was 2001, with more than 1,500. Hondas are most-often towed, which probably reflects the large number on the road.
Looking specifically at year and model, Nissan Altimas and Honda Accords alternated in the top five positions from 2000 to 2003.
The most-common vehicle colors towed were gray, black and red. Cars were most likely to be towed in the hours after noon.
Some drivers had especially bad experiences, having had their vehicle towed almost a dozen times since 2015.
Some towing companies were much busier than others.
Cross Country Towing in particular towed almost twice as many cars as the second-busiest firm.
Where tow firms target?
When police request a tow, they notify a dispatcher, who goes down a list of about a dozen towing firms, said Eric Boone, chief executive officer of the Hartford Parking Authority.
Parking enforcement officers only initiate tows after finding a vehicle that has more than five overdue tickets and whose owner did not resolve the issue within 24 hours after the vehicle was fitted with a boot — a device that immobilizes it.
Within two years, officers have booted 850 cars. Of that 850, only 100 resulted in tows, said Boone.
The majority of tows in Hartford come from private lots, which usually have exclusive arrangements with tow companies.
If a vehicle is towed from a private lot, the lot operator must call police to let them know that the vehicles was towed so a driver can be notified if he or she calls.
Cross Country Towing handled tows from six of the 10 addresses where vehicles are most commonly towed. Most of the addresses listed are private parking lots, with most towing occurring overnight.
People might park there thinking no one is around, or no one will care.
“The key lesson from this is if you park in a lot, pay attention to the signage,” said Boone. “If you’re’ not supposed to be there, don’t park there because you’ll probably be towed.”
|200 Bloomfield Ave.||Cross Country Towing||78|
|105 Sherbrooke Ave||Cross Country Towing||36|
|1000 Main St.||Cross Country Towing||34|
|100 Weston St.||Corona’s Auto Parts, Inc.||30|
|57 Sumner St.||Cross Country Towing||29|
|100 Weston St.||International Towing Co.||27|
|100 Weston St.||Metro Autobody & Towing||26|
|198 Sigourney St.||Cross Country Towing||22|
|887 Asylum Ave.||Cross Country Towing||22|
|1000 Main St.||Corona’s Auto Parts, Inc.||21|
According to our analysis, vehicles are more likely to be towed in areas where there aren’t a lot of residents. Typically, residents don’t park illegally.
Instead, vehicles are towed in areas with more temporary and metered parking, such as downtown, especially where restaurants tend to be, as illustrated in the maps below.