Abandoned vehicle removal is one of our most frequently submitted service requests.In March 2021alone, we received4,198inquires about abandoned vehicles.These vehiclesareinvestigated andremoved by theNeighborhood Services Unit(NSU)of the Philadelphia Police Department.We want tomake sure all of your questions about abandoned vehiclesare answeredand take you through theremovalprocess from start to finish.
When is a vehicle considered abandoned?
A vehicleis consideredabandonedfor any of the following reasons:
- It isnotdriveable.This may be a car with flat tires,missing parts, or any other damage that would prevent it from moving.
- Itisdangerous.This maybe acar that has been involved in an accident and hasjagged edges, leaking fluid,broken glass, or anything else that poses an immediate danger.
- Itsinspection and registration havebeen expiredfor more than 90 days.
- Itisillegally parkedand isinoperablefor more than48 hours.The inspecting officer must be able to see the vehicle is inoperable, i.e.theengine is on the ground.
- It does not have alicense plate, inspection sticker, and vehicleidentificationnumber.
- Itislefton private propertyfor more than24 hourswithout the property owners consent.Thepropertyowner must be available to sign a Private Property Form in order for the vehicle tobe removed.
What ifthe vehicleis abandonedon private property?
Vehicles leftfor more than 24 hoursonprivate propertythat is accessible to the publiccan be reportedas abandoned.Driveways and alleyways are not all considered private property. Some rear driveways are part of the common drive and therefore not considered private property. Once reported the officer investigating the vehicle will determine if its private property or not.The propertyownerswritten consentis requiredbefore thepolice can tow thevehicle.If a vehicleis leftin avacant lot,the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP)will work withNSU to get it removed.You can report vacant lots that need cleaning on ouronline form.The police cannotinvestigate a vehicle oninaccessible private property (walled or fencedin property).
How do I report an abandoned vehiclein Philadelphia?
Glad you asked! You can report an abandoned vehicle to 311 by dialing 3-1-1(215-686-8686 if you are outside of Philadelphia), using ourmobile apporweb portal, or byemail. Be sure to include the following essential informationin your report:
- Anexact address(street name and number)of the vehicles location. If you are not sure of the exact address, useAtlasto find the closest exact address.
- Body style(i.e.4 door sedan)
- Description of thevehiclescondition
- License platestate and number
- Aphotoof the vehicle
We encourage you to include as much information as possible in your report.If you see that the steering column inside the vehicleis brokenor is missing the cover, pleasecall 911 immediatelyto report the potentially stolen vehicle.Do not make multiple complaints about the same vehicle. This does not speed up the process, it actually slows it down and causes a backlog of complaints.
Can I report larger vehicles like box trucksor trailers?
Yes, you can report larger vehicles such as vans, trailers,boxand rental trucks.If there is debris in the truck, be sure to let us know in your report.The trash from the vehicle needs tobe removedbefore it can be towedsafely.These larger vehicles will take longer than usual to remove as special equipment such as cranes orlow-boytrucks need to be coordinated for the removal process.
Ivereported an abandoned vehicle, what happens next?
Once you report a vehicle, an officer from the Neighborhood Services Unit will investigateand determine whether it classifies as abandoned.If the officer finds that the vehicle poses an immediate danger, itwill be towedimmediately. In less severe cases, the vehicle owner may receive acourtesynotice from the Police Departmentinforming them of their intent to tow. The owner is given a shortperiod of timetobring their vehicle into compliance with the law.This could include repairing the vehicle or updating the vehicles registration/inspection.
How long does it take to get a vehicle removed?
It can take up to60 business days or longerto get an abandoned vehicle removed.This length of timedepends on the severity of the issue. Abandoned vehicles posing an immediate dangerwill be removedimmediately. Less severe cases will take longer.In addition, depending on the season,policeofficers in the NeighborhoodServices Unitcould be reassignedtohigher priority issues.If your abandoned vehicle request has been open for more than 60 business days and the vehicleis not removed, please follow upwith Philly311with your service request number. We will be happy to look into the case for you.
My vehicle was towed by Neighborhood Services. How do I get it back?
Ifyour vehicle was towed bythe Neighborhood Services Unit, please contact them by calling 215-685-9500, Monday Friday, 8 a.m. 4 p.m.Report an abandoned vehicle online today!