BYU police beat ticket scam with technology


Every parking spot is taken in the Marriott Center parking lot. There is no hope of finding a space down by the Indoor Practice Facility either. The parking ticket from last week sits in the center console. It would be easy to park in a staff parking lot and leave the old ticket on the windshield to deter the parking enforcement from writing a citation. However, using the ticket scam technique will no longer work due to the technological advances made by the University Police.

BYU students have tried to put fake or old parking tickets on their windshields in hopes of tricking the parking enforcers and avoiding another citation. Now parking enforcement has a license plate reader system that scans license plates in seconds and shows if a car belongs there or not.

Lt. Arnold Lemmon from University Police explained that parking officers do not pay attention to windshields anymore and will rely on the computer, regardless of the ticket already on the windshield. The license plate reader will notify officers if they have just issued a ticket on that vehicle.

“We have gone to an automated parking system where it is license plate recognition,” Lemmon said. “As soon as that license plate recognition car goes by, it picks up on the license plate; if it says it’s not supposed to be there, then the vehicle gets another ticket. So whatever they put on there, it doesn’t work anymore. Now the officers don’t even look at the windshield. They will make their swings through the lots, and it’s just all automated now.”

[/media-credit] BYU students have used the ‘ticket scam’ strategy to avoid receiving future parking tickets.
Jeff Rodeback, a student working for the traffic division at BYU, said just last week he cited someone for ticket scamming.

“I got him on a red curb the week before last, and I knew that he had moved since then,” Rodeback said. “Then I saw him that day and he was back with the original ticket on his windshield, so I went back and looked up the photo history from that spot and we could prove that he had moved. We were able to write him a ticket for scamming.”

The parking enforcement now takes photographs of the vehicle when they issue a citation. This way, when someone tries to appeal the ticket, a photograph of the vehicle and where it was cited can act as proof. Lemmon cautioned students against trying to beat the system. He emphasized there is plenty of parking on campus, even though it might not be right in the middle of campus.

“You may not be able to park 10 feet from where you want to go,” Lemmon said. “We feel entitled sometimes that we should be able to park anywhere. Sometimes you simply just have to come early.”

Parking officers do not hand out tickets for the purpose of making money. The money that comes from ticket fees do not go to the police department.

“Our parking enforcement division is not a revenue generating entity,” Lemmon said. “The money goes to the general fund of the University. Ticketing is to gain compliance and discourage the violators.”

Sgt. Steven Messick from the University Police Department said that the parking enforcement is there to make the BYU community a better and safer place. It helps create and maintain order on campus.

“We are trying to provide a service to make this an orderly place,” Messick said. “If we just backed out and said park where you want and so forth, it just wouldn’t be a very good place to be. People would want to park wherever they wanted to, and it would make it very difficult for our employees. It is important that our employees are able to get here at the certain time they need to be here and that’s why you notice their parking is closer and student parking is a little further out.”

Lemmon said the parking rules are not made up by the police department but are created by a traffic committee. The committee is comprised of students, professors, administrators and a lieutenant. He said if a student has a better idea, they should make an appointment with the traffic committee and share their idea with them.

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