Janet Babin, Economic Development Reporter, WNYC News
Janet Babin is a reporter at WNYC covering economic development.
New York City's Department of Investigation has charged nine people with displaying fake parking permits at area housing projects. The latest arrests follow five similar arrests made last December.
The alleged scofflaws used computer generated copies of permits to fool authorities. The DOI said the parking permits bore lots of anomalies upon close inspection. They often had different colored backgrounds from the authentic permits, and invalid permit numbers. The agency said it will work to strengthen oversight of public housing parking permits that can cost non-residents up to $650.
But Juan Martinez with Transportation Alternatives estimates that thousands more people with fake permits still use them, and manage to evade authorities. “We cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem,” said Martinez. He said the rise of computer programs like Photoshop and widespread internet availability have made it simple to forge and sell parking permits. “The key is to make it harder to fake a parking permit,” he said.
A bill introduced by New York City Council Member Dan Garodnick would add a bar code to parking placards, making them much harder to fake. The bill was referred to the Transportation Committee, but has been there since last summer.
The nine people arrested Wednesday face misdemeanor charges that carry a penalty of up to one year in prison upon conviction. The nine will be arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court in June.