Abandoned vehicles on private or public property can be reported online via the city’s Abandoned Vehicle webpage.
Reports of abandoned vehicles on public property will be sent to Albuquerque Police Department’s Abandoned Vehicle Unit, while reports of abandoned vehicles on private property will be sent to the city’s Zoning Enforcement.
If there is reason to believe a vehicle may be stolen, call 242-COPS (242-2677).
Due to the required legal steps the city must take to remove a vehicle, it can take several weeks before a vehicle is towed and impounded.
An abandoned vehicle report to 311 on Oct. 20 in the Quintessence neighborhood was resolved and the request closed five days later, according to SeeClickFix, a site where anyone can review 311 requests in Albuquerque.
The description of the abandoned vehicle says the back windshield was busted out and front passenger tire flat. The vehicle was reported as being abandoned on public property for two days before being reported.
A quick search on NextDoor shows multiple reports of abandoned vehicles in the Northeast Heights this month. One Nov. 18 post shows a picture of an abandoned vehicle at the corner of Tara Drive and Cielito Lindo in the San Gabriel neighborhood. The post asks if the car is stolen and says the vehicle was reported to 311 and via the city’s Abandoned Vehicle Report.
One person responded to the post, “There was a small SUV there, same spot, about 2 weeks ago. APD & CSI turned up, went over it for hours and hauled it off. Hope this isn’t going to be a ‘thing.’”
On Nov. 18 Paul Jessen wrote on NextDoor, “Another abandoned vehicle situation has been identified at the Walgreens parking lot on Ventura & Paseo.” Jessen said APD Public Service Aid responded to the report and determined the vehicle was not stolen. Jessen said APD would not tow the vehicle because it is on private property and because of “a fear of being sued.”
The battery and wheel covers were stolen and the doors unlocked. “Eventually windows will be broken or maybe an unhoused person will move in,” Jessen continues, adding that Walgreens was told it is the store’s responsibility to tow the vehicle.
“Another expense, along with the on average $1,000 a week lost due to shoplifting per week, to be paid by the business! Fair?” Jessen asks.
When can a vehicle legally be considered abandoned in Albuquerque?
City Ordinance 8-5-2-3 Abandoned and Inoperable Vehicles provides clarification as to what is legally considered an abandoned vehicle. In sum, a vehicle is considered abandoned when:
1. The vehicle is parked on or along any street, alley or public way and the vehicle displays no current license plate and validating sticker; or
2. The vehicle is left unattended on or along any public property, street, alley or public way in the same place for a period of 36 hours without a valid police sticker as defined in division (B);
3. The vehicle is left on private property without the consent of the property owner, tenant or occupant for a period of 24 hours; or
4. At a private residence, any vehicle which is not lawfully parked on a driveway for a period of at least 36 hours.
What is the procedure for impounding abandoned or inoperable vehicles on private property?
According to the city of Albuquerque website, “In the case of an apartment complex or business parking lot, it is the responsibility of the property owner or management to deal with an abandoned vehicle on their property. They should be contacted regarding such vehicles, not the City. The Albuquerque Police Department and Zoning Enforcement cannot take action unless the vehicle has been reported stolen or involved in a crime.”
According to Ordinance 8-5-2-3, when a vehicle is identified as abandoned or inoperable on private property without the consent of the property owner, a notification tag will be attached to the vehicle. The tag serves as an order to the vehicle owner to remove the vehicle from the property within seven days and that if it is not removed within seven days, the vehicle may be towed and stored at the owner’s expense.
Ordinance 8-5-2-9 Inoperable Vehicle on Private Property states that when a vehicle is identified as inoperable and a nuisance, the property owner, lessee or occupant of the property shall be notified by mail after which they have seven days to remove the vehicle from the property. If the vehicle is not removed within seven days, the mayor or chief may obtain an administrative search warrant and have the vehicle removed and impounded. If the registered owner of the vehicle is identified, a notice shall be mailed stating the vehicle is impounded and can be released when impoundment fees are paid.
To see the full verbiage of city ordinances dealing with abandoned and inoperable vehicles on private or public property, visit the Code Library website.