Are junk cars a problem in your neighborhood? Some residents complain they have one, two, sometimes three or four abandoned cars on their block. The City of Lubbock says it's a chronic problem, but this week they're cracking down on the eyesores.
The city ordinance defines a junker as: a vehicle with expired registration and inspection stickers; and, a car that is wrecked or dismantled; or a car that has not been moved in 30 days.
Now, the city has a warning for anyone with a junker in their driveway, or on their curb: Get it up and running, or it will be towed.
You don't have to look long to find a junked out car in Lubbock. The eyesores can be found on just about every neighborhood block. "Someone needs to do something about them," says Lubbock resident and rental property owner Shady Mallory. She says junk cars are more than just eyesores. "We pay high end property tax on this street and we should not have to look at that car," says Mallory.
It's a problem plaguing Lubbock neighborhoods, and it's a recurring headache for city code inspectors. Lubbock code enforcer Stuart Walker says his office tags an average of 60 junk cars a month. After that, if the owner doesn't take care of the nuisance, the city will tow the cars.
So, why an ordinance? Well, Walker says, in addition to bringing down property values, junk cars are a real health and safety concern. "The biggest problem is kids locking themselves in these junk cars on hot days. They also leak oil and other fluids and if kids and pets get into that, they'll get really sick," says Walker.
Despite that, Elaine Hollowell says having a little clutter in the yard is no one's business but hers. She had a junk car that was tagged by the city, but has since removed it. Now, she keeps another old car in her driveway under a cover, to keep it from being tagged by the city. "This is my home. And until the city makes the house payment.. it's my front yard," says Hollowell.
The city also says junk cars breed vandalism. Broken out windows and flat tires sometimes attract vandals to break more windows and slash more tires. If you have a junk car in your neighborhood, and you want to report it, you can call the city at (806) 775-3195.