SAN DIEGO - A new audit shows the San Diego Police are disproportionately towing the vehicles of low-income families.
The 49 page audit released this week shows that over the past few years, more than a quarter of all tows in the City of San Diego led to owners giving up their car instead of paying the fines.
"The city government has allowed 32,000 of its residents vehicles to be sold to the highest bidder for things like an expired registration sticker or parking too long in one spot," said District 3 Councilmember Stephen Whitburn.
Whitburn chairs the city's audit committee and says he requested the report after hearing the stories of many San Diego residents who had their vehicles towed for minor offenses. Two homeless mothers and their sons were recently forced to sleep out in the cold after police had their cars towed, according to a report from NBC 7.
"The city needs to be solving homelessness not contributing to homelessness," Whitburn said. "When we take people's vehicles, that can be the beginning of a downward spiral."
The San Diego Police Department has yet to respond to a request from KOGO News for comment, but the San Diego Union-Tribune reported San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit released a statement concerning the audit.
“The Police Department recognizes the city’s concerns about balancing its interests of enforcement with mitigating disproportionate impacts of towing on low-income individuals, and will work with city leadership in an effort to identify problems and assist in the city’s policy decisions for the tow administration program,” Chief Nisleit wrote.
RELATED: San Diego City Councilmember Wants Review of Towing Fees and Policies (listen below)