Breaking News
More () »

Memphis Police's impound lot severely overcrowded | What MPD says the city should do to clear the backlog

Currently, the tow fee is $125 at the impound lot, lower than many cities. But the daily storage fee is $30 which is higher than cities like Chicago and Atlanta.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nearly 11,000 thousand cars were stolen last year in Memphis alone and if your car was one of those recovered vehicles it might have ended up at the city of Memphis impound on Klinke Ave

It's an already overcrowded lot and with so many stolen cars landing there. owners are facing roadblocks getting their cars back. 

It's an issue one Memphian we spoke with knows firsthand.

"It's finally bubbled over to where it's a big enough issue," city councilman Chase Carlisle said. 

Memphis city council members, Memphis police, and car owners agree there are major problems that need immediate solutions at MPD's impound lot in north Memphis.

In January, car theft victim Tarra Batts expressed her frustration after her car was stolen; towed to the impound lot and then lost.

"If the city is over this, this is ridiculous," Batts said. "My car wasn't even lost a full day before it was lost. How can you lose a car in one day?" 

Many weeks later Batts still doesn't know where her car is and blames the city of Memphis for dropping the ball.

"Cars are all stacked on top of each other," Batts said. "They're not paying enough attention, they don't care. I just don't feel like it's fair and I've wrote the mayor a letter. Still no response from him or his office either."    

Frustrations like Batts' and other drivers are why MPD updated the Memphis city council about the challenges - and planned improvements - at the impound lot during Tuesday's city council meeting.

"There are some issues with the lot; typography issues," assistant police chief Shawn Jones said. "Ground issues that need to be repaired. But that's not going to solve the overall problem of the lot just not being large enough to accommodate the volume of cars that are coming into the lot."   

MPD says the lot is only designed to store 1,800 vehicles but right now - holds more than 2,700. 

This is causing major delays in finding vehicles and giving them back to their owners. Another issue, MPD says is antiquated systems. 

 "We still use a lot of paper to drive our processes when we're in the digital age," Jones said. 

 Along with updating processing systems, police suggest changing the "Wreckers and Towing Operators" city ordinancesThey say this would allow police to outsource the towing and storage of all vehicles that are not police evidence to private towing companies. 

"Luckily I have another car but what if I didn't," Batts said. "What about the ones who don't have another vehicle? What about the ones who don't have anyone, you know, to help them get around?"

Currently, the tow fee is $125  at the impound lot, lower than in many cities. But the daily storage fee is $30 which is higher than in cities like New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out