Seattle PD Discrimination: Parking

I had this theory for a while that SPD parking enforcement targets vehicles operated by "poor" people.

I heard and saw anecdotal evidence – my beat-up Jetta gets a ticket for a time-violation, while the BMW behind me does not.

So, today we have an actual experiment going on.

My beat-up Jetta, a nice BMW and a clean Dodge Doakota have all parked, on the same block in the same 2h limit zone.

The parking time limit is enforced from 8am to 6pm.

The BMW arrived around 8:30, my Jetta at 9:00 and the Dodge at 9:10.

As yet, we’ve not see the parking attendants.

09:50 No Sign of Parking Enforcement (PE)

11:14 Parking Enforcement Spotted

Parking enforcement just passed our three sample cars, slowly.

I’m sure that each was recognised by their system, they have marked the tires of our sample cars with white chalk.

11:32 Dodge Leaves

The Dodge has left, so now our sample cars are down to two.

I’m not wanting to get a ticket on the Jetta, so I’m going to move it now.

However, I still assume that by EOD the BMW will still not have a ticket.

12:03 Parking Enforcement Spotted

PE makes another pass, this time using orange chalk markings.

An observation of the BMW has no marking, in either white or orange chalk.

Cars that were chalked include: Toyota, Honda and an F150 – all on the same block & same zone as the BMW.

13:53 Parking Enforcement – Marking

Didn’t see them pass however, I did just look at the cars.

Now a new Toyota and a Nissan have been marked with white chalk, the BMW however still has no chalk markings.

16:00 Parking Enforcement Spotted

I just watched the Parking Enforcement dude (same guy I’ve seen three times today) drive past.

Chalking tires, guess what – the BMW – which has been parked since about 8:30 in a two (2) hour zone – still has not been chalked or ticketed.

16:29 BMW Leaves

The BMW just left, roughly eight (8) hours in a two (2) hour limited zone.

Tires were never chalked, though the tires of surrounding vehicles was.

Not citation was issued, although I saw other citations being given out.


I’ve managed to convince myself, after today’s diligent observation that SPD Parking Enforcement is not applying the rules the same to all illegally parked vehicles. My theory that the "nice car" would not get a parking citation, while other cars would be targeted played out as I described. Accommodation for the Affluent.

What I’d like to get my hands on now is the data about the citations, make, model, age as well as the zip code of the citation and zip code of the license holder. From that we could build a pretty good model.

I’m betting that the City and the State don’t want that type of transparency.