Ticket Trouble: Residents of South Florida neighborhood receive unexpected fines from police

(WSVN) - The coronavirus pandemic forced many people to leave jobs and schools and stay at home, but families in one South Florida neighborhood say their efforts are coming with some unexpected fines from police. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin takes at look at what’s causing their “Ticket Trouble.”

Nobody likes getting a parking ticket, but imagine how frustrating it would be to get a ticket while your car is parked in your own driveway!

Steven Heckert, received parking ticket: “I was thinking, ‘Why am I getting a ticket if I’m parking in my driveway at home?'”

These neighbors in Kendall were frustrated when the coronavirus drove them inside their homes, but then, police came and started writing parking tickets. They say it’s making an already stressful time even worse.

Mary Difede, received parking ticket: “The reason that’s upsetting to us is most of us have been furloughed or terminated. We’re not getting any type of warning whatsoever. We’re just being slapped a citation.”

Several homes on this street have been hit with multiple citations over the last few weeks, all for blocking the sidewalk. The neighbors we spoke to say they can’t really help it. They have multiple family members staying with them and college-age children, and all of those cars have to pack into smaller driveways.

Perla Terzian, neighbor: “In just a week, there were like four houses got hit with $30 tickets, and some of them is for being just a little bit into the sidewalk. Where are they going to go? Where are they going to park? Not every house is built to have a huge swale.”

Even though most of the neighbors are home all day, they say the tickets never come during the daytime.

Mary Difede: “My home received two tickets. These tickets are being issued at 9:54 p.m., which is an odd hour to be taking a walk in a neighborhood anyways.”

It’s also minutes before the nightly coronavirus curfew goes into effect, meaning no one should be out using the sidewalk.

Perla Terzian: “So, I don’t know who at night is ordering this, or if somebody is calling.”

The neighborhood falls under Miami-Dade Police jurisdiction.

We called to ask why neighbors are being ticketed at a time when everyone is being asked to stay home, and we wanted to know why citations are being issued at night.

Miami-Dade Police told us they’re looking into it.

Steven Heckert: “It’s just a nuisance, kind of, because we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, staying home, sheltering in place, and we’re getting fined for doing that.”

Neighbors understand the police have a job to do, but they hope officers will take it easy on the tickets until South Florida’s stay at home order is lifted.

Miami-Dade Police tell 7News they found that all of the tickets issued came after an anonymous call to police from someone in the community.

Police say although they will respond when called, they are not actively patrolling for parking violations in the neighborhood.

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