“only thing stolen was… the Visitor Parking Permit”


VPP insanity cont.

“Dear PoPville,

I thought I’d share a somewhat amusing, but also incredibly annoying thing that happened to me this morning. I live on Capitol Hill and walk out to my car around 6:15 this morning to see that the driver’s side window has been smashed in. After checking through the car, the cash, the iPhone cables, the Barbour jacket were all still there–the only thing stolen was… the Visitor Parking Permit.”

Ed. Note: The OP also knows not to leave cash, iPhone cables, and jackets in the car.

62 Comment

  • As If

    jeez. i didn’t know these parking passes were such hot items!

  • Glad they have such good humor about it!

  • Tom

    Bryan Whitman strikes again

  • LOL on reading the pre-emptive Editor’s Note.
    And Tom beat me to it re. Bryan Whitman. 🙂

  • I’ve been hearing this from multiple sources lately – VPP thefts are waaaaaaaaay up.
    There’s a hot black market for them among MD, VA, DC drivers from other wards who drive into the central wards for work. The program is a disaster.

    • If they’re stolen (as opposed to being dishonestly sold by the residents), wouldn’t the DMV be able to invalidate that particular code if the resident with the VPP reported the theft?

      • Oops… DDOT, not DMV. Hard to remember sometimes which agencies are involved in which parking-related aspects.

      • Nope. I’ve reported the Maryland drivers who have bought the passes and use them to commute into our neighborhood Monday through Friday, year-round. DDoT personnel say they will do nothing. There’s zero enforcement. A lively market for them exists online, postings at bus stops, local stores. A real shame.

    • ah

      The program is not a disaster. It is a very good program, but without necessary safeguards to prevent fraud and abuse, and an apparent unwillingness to use the safeguards when possible to reduce the fraud.

    • Haven’t VPP thefts always been waaaaaaaaaaaay up? It comes up on Popville every couple of months, with the same comments every time.

  • Each pass has a unique number, associated with the address it is issued to. I would hope that if the theft is reported to DDOT, that pass would be deactivated. If this is done consistently, there should be no market for stolen VPPs. Of course, that wouldn’t stop the market for (non-stolen) VPPs sold or rented to commuters by DC residents.

    • This sounds so reasonable, but I just don’t see parking enforcement taking the time or effort to type in these long codes every time they come across a VPP.

      • Surely they just scan the QR code?

        • They don’t scan, they don’t even check to see if the pass is in the correct ANC. Basically, it’s a free parking pass for the holder.

        • I have never seen a single parking enforcement officer attempt to scan the code. They merely check the dashboard and keep walking if they see a VPP pass. I don’t even think they check to ensure the pass is from the correct ANC.
          The market for these passes is really hot in the Dupont and CapHill neighborhoods where offices abut residences. I’ve had multiple friends who work in the Dupont/Golden Triangle inquire about buying my pass or trying to register their car to my address (so they can get the RPP).

          • A friend’s wife was trying to get a VPP for him after they moved to the suburbs. I guess she didn’t understand (or didn’t care) how that completely violates both the letter and the spirit of the law.

        • Until/unless the boundaries of the various ANCs are marked on the parking signs, I’m not surprised that parking enforcement would check only the overall zone rather than the ANC within that zone.

    • ah

      Wow – could easily figure out whose address that is from using the code.

    • Seems like apprehending the thief is the PERFECT job for all those dedicated parking enforcement officers we have in D.C.

    • The OP might want to report it to his/her police lieutenant and see if they can run a sting on the thief.

      • Actually, re-reading the ad, I see that this person is advertising VPPs for “any zone.” So maybe the one pictured is intended to be representative, but he/she has bought/stolen VPPs from all eight wards.

        • I was thinking that since the VPP are ANC specific it’s more likely on-demand. Someone puts in a request for a 1C dude heads over to 1C and walks around until he finds one, breaks the window to grab it, then brings it to meet the buyer in the afternoon.

    • 3F is my current, soon to be former, ANC. I don’t drive but tried to apply for one of these and was rejected (wanted for if someone comes to visit, etc). Kinda sucks that this person got one and is able to make money off it.

    • That DoD guy should track it down!

  • I live on the hill too and have had this stolen twice now. I now just go to the police station when i need a visitor’s pass. It’s sad, it was convenient but not worth the cost of a broken window!

  • Or does (s)/he?

  • Yep, cash is worthless.

  • The VPP program is a disaster. In theory, DDOT COULD invalidate the QC code. But in reality,the parking enforcement folks don’t even verify that the placard is even being used in the correct ANC. I suspect the abuse of this program is going to sky rocket during the metro Safe Track program – there is almost no chance you will get caught if you sell a VPP, and if you do get caught, so what? You are out the few bucks you used to illegally procure the pass.

    “Visitors” aka people who work in the city, use these passes M-F, 9-5. Not exactly a “visitor.” There is rampant abuse.

    This is one of the worst programs DDOT rolled out.

  • The same thing happened to me about a year and a half ago while I was dog sitting for a friend. It happened sometime between 8am and 3pm. Broad daylight. And it was Christmas Eve. Person was a total grinch. The police asked me what was taken. Only thing was the visitor pass. If there wasn’t a market for them, it wouldn’t happen.

  • I’ve written my last name in large letters with a sharpie on our VPP. I don’t know if we’re just lucky, but it hasn’t been stolen yet.

  • I’m kind of surprised that, based on all the comments we see on this blog about abuse of this program, no one has questioned why the OP, who “live(s) on Capitol Hill,” is using a VPP in the first place?

  • Funny how nobody every gets ticketed if they have the VPP. I use my boyfriends to park on the street near 11th & U near his condo. I have procured ROSA exemption as a frequent visitor because I stay the night sometimes. The other day I got a parking ticket for not obeying the sign that says permit required. I guess the VPP doesn’t afford immunity although I am fighting the ticket, I’ve been told it will take from 6 months to up to a year for a decision to be made. I guess this is DC’s attempt at curtailing inter-regional dating…

  • GiantSquid

    My parents were house/dog-sitting for us 2 blocks off of Barracks Row a few summers ago. The driver’s side window was smashed and the only thing taken was our VPP, which I had written our address upon, clearly, in black sharpie. I was LIVID. After that, we only used the subsequent VPPs for very brief guest parking. If someone was staying overnight, we went to the police substation and got a dedicated pass with their plates on it.

    We’re at a point, where the technology is there, paper passes such as these are unnecessary. Why not create something like Parkmobile, and the guests input the code from their hosts, so it’s all online. Parking enforcement would look up their plates on the visitor parking site, if the plate comes up with a valid code, don’t ticket them.

  • Sorry your car was broken into – that sucks.
    Side note though – thank you for name-checking your coat! For the longest time I’ve been trying to figure out how to find this jacket I remember my dad having when I was little. Surprisingly “green with weird a weird feeling fabric” didn’t get me what I was looking or online – and my mom had no clue what I was talking about. But, THIS IS THAT COAT! So, seriously, thanks!

  • Hello, so sorry to hear about this theft. If you can, please call DDOT’s customer service and report the theft at (202) 671-2700. DDOT can work on replacing that pass.

    • DDOT Communications, care to address the comment above?
      “I’ve reported the Maryland drivers who have bought the passes and use them to commute into our neighborhood Monday through Friday, year-round. DDoT personnel say they will do nothing. There’s zero enforcement. A lively market for them exists online, postings at bus stops, local stores. A real shame.”

    • This seems like an incredibly easy thing to address. Parking enforcement cars have license plate scanners. The agents carry smartphones or tablets. No reason why a VPP number cannot be invalidated if it is reported as stolen. No reason why agents should not be able to scan a VPP number and, if it is invalid, write a ticket. It’s the same thing as an expired or invalid registration or tag.

      • Addressing _stolen_ VPPs should be easy. What the commenter Sydney was talking about was cases of VPP abuse — i.e., commuters from MD/VA driving into D.C. every day and using a VPP in violation of the rules.

  • LOL – a reporter just posted on MOTH asking for someone to talk to about this post!

  • With the Metro work taking 1 year to complete, motorists from Maryland, Virginia, and other D.C. neighborhoods will do anything to be able to drive into and find parking inside the District close to their jobs downtown. The ROSA program too is seriously flawed. If someone from D.C. is dating someone in Virginia staying overnight constantly with D.C. tags, do Virginia offer the ROSA program to D.C. motorists? I emailed D.C. Council Transportation Chairwoman Mary Cheh and others to revisit the ROSA and RPP program. As usual I didn’t get a response from the do nothing politicians in the Wilson Building. Ward 4 Brandon Todd is on the Transportation Committee and he’s not an advocate for the average Ward 4 residents. He panders to the affluent African Americans living in Shepherd Park, North Portal Estates, and Colonial Village. I live on a RPP street and I have a VPP. I keep mine safely inside my home, until I have out of town guest or contractors coming to my home during the week. Parking Enforcement do the best they can, however, they have no guidance from agency directors DMV Ms. Lucidia Babers and DPW Mr. Christopher Shorter, DDOT leif Dormsjo.

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