Aspen Police reveal hardest hit parking meters in May, July
The Aspen Times
The Aspen Police Department provided an update on the investigation of Aspen’s parking-meter scam Thursday, revealing locations of the hardest-hit meters in the downtown core during May and July.
Based on Finance Department numbers for May and July, the hardest-hit meter granted $9,057 in unpaid parking at 500 E. Cooper Ave., near Aspen’s pedestrian-mall kiosk. Next in line is 600 E. Hyman Ave., at $8,439, followed by two meters on each side of 300 S. Galena St., showing losses of $6,112 and $4,913, respectively. Rounding out the top five is 300 E. Hopkins Ave., with a loss of $4,684.
Nine meters along Aspen’s Restaurant Row, between 100 and 600 E. Hopkins Ave., show losses of $20,100, while an almost identical amount was lost at six meters between 300 and 600 E. Hyman Ave.
Six meters between 100 and 300 S. Galena St. show losses of $18,474, six meters between 500 and 800 E. Cooper Ave. show losses of $14,157, five meters between 100 and 500 S. Mill St. show losses of $12,221, and 10 meters between 200 and 800 E. Durant Ave. show losses of $10,506.
Police spokeswoman Blair Weyer said the department only has information for May and July, but it has submitted additional requests to Global Pay, which holds data on the charges. A blog dedicated to the investigation — at http://www.aspenpolice.com/ updates — says police are working with Global Pay on reports from 2013 to 2014.
Installed in 2007 by Toronto-based vendor Precise Parklink Inc., Aspen’s parking meters have been susceptible to a scam where drivers use prepaid, maxed-out debit cards. Because the system employs batch processing, the cards are not declined until the end of the day, even though paid parking is granted. Finance Department estimates show that widespread fraud began two years ago, with losses of $37,800 in 2011 and $78,036 in 2012, before ballooning to $227,220 in 2013 and $448,000, so far, in 2014. The total since 2010 comes in at $817,000, though Finance Director Don Taylor attributes about $121,000 to non-fraudulent transactions made by motorists ignorant of the scam.
The blog states that Aspen police anticipate receiving thousands of lines of data from Global Pay as early as today. The investigation is ongoing.
“Global Pay was issued an order to produce as a precautionary measure, but they have been cooperative and willing to provide all information requested,” the blog states. “Credit card processing companies work diligently to ensure the privacy of their customers, which is why care and time are being taken to ensure the proper records are retrieved.”
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”