Abandoned Vehicles

The El Cerrito Police Department offers an Abandoned Vehicle Hotline, which allows citizens to report any vehicle(s) that they believe are abandoned. The hotline number is (510) 215-4427 and is available 24 hours a day. We are pleased to announce that citizens can also report abandoned vehicles online using the form found below. Please read the following before reporting a vehicle as abandoned. If you have already reported a vehicle via the hotline or online report, please do not submit a subsequent report.

An abandon vehicle is defined as a vehicle that has been left on the street for more than 72 hours with the intent to abandon the vehicle. Police Department personnel use criteria such as having excessive dust, debris around the tires, cob webs around the fender wells (from the chassis to the ground), missing parts, flat tire, etc. This differs from owners using a public street to store their vehicle, exceeding the 72-hour parking restriction.

Once reported, the abandoned vehicle complaint is assigned to the Patrol Division’s Community Service Officers (CSO) to begin the abatement process. The CSO makes every effort to respond within 4 business days. The CSO will then take the necessary steps to ensure that the problem is resolved.

The CSO will respond to the vehicle, assess whether the vehicle meets the abandon vehicle criteria, and has the discretion to either put an orange warning tag on the vehicle and mark the tires or mark the tires with no warning. If a vehicle has a prior complaint, anywhere in the city limits, it does not get a second warning sticker.

The CSO will return to recheck any time after 72 hours, as time allows; typically, this recheck is within five (5) business days. At that time, the CSO may cite, tow or work with the registered owner by giving an extension of time for them to abate the vehicle.

If the CSO requests the vehicle be towed, the tow company has 24 hours to pick up the vehicle once the request is made.

For other vehicle related parking violation complaints, please contact Public Safety Dispatchers non-emergency line at (510) 233-1214. These complaints would include limited time zone areas, designated handicapped spaces, painted colored curbs and signs, blocking a driveway or someone living inside of a vehicle. Non-compliance will result in the issuance of citations and/or towing of the vehicle. All costs for citations, towing, storage fees, and city vehicle release fees must be paid by the vehicle owner before the vehicle will be released.

Please click here to complete the following form to submit information about an abandoned vehicle. Items with an asterisk are required.