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475,106 Mistakes: The Cost of Erroneous Parking Tickets

A grey car with tickets in the windshield. Behind the car, a large parking ticket fills the background and the title of the report is written over the ticket.

State of Racial Justice in Chicago Report

In this report we analyze nearly 3.6 million parking tickets issued in Chicago between August 2012 and May 2018 where complying with parking restrictions depended on time, weather, and location restrictions and identified that more than one in eight tickets (13.2%) were issued in error. Erroneous tickets served as a $35.5 million dividend for the City of Chicago during the six years the analysis covered. The 475,106 erroneous tickets we identified in this period generated more than $27.5 million in revenue.

Furthermore, only 7% of tickets written under false pretenses are contested, and nine of the 10 community areas with the lowest appeal rates are majority Latinx. More than 20% of inaccurate tickets are subject to late penalties and majority Black community areas represent the 20 community areas with the highest percentage of late penalties tied to flawed tickets. While paying a ticket or taking the time to contest it may be minor inconveniences for some, these erroneous parking tickets amplify the vulnerability of those already vulnerable.