Counterfeit decals may jack up prices

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Sarah Mountain

Staff Writer

Changes to parking prices and fines may come next fall as a result of an increased number of counterfeit decals discovered in the last few weeks at Troy University.

According to Troy University Police Department (TUPD) Chief John McCall, a male Troy student was caught with a counterfeit decal after parking illegally and being written a ticket. The ticket was processed using the serial number on the decal as all tickets given on campus are, and was issued early in the morning. 

A female student residing off-campus called the TUPD complaining that she had been issued a ticket while her car was still parked at her apartment, and that there must’ve been a mistake. Officers checked both decals to ensure all information had been entered

decals to ensure all information had been entered correctly, and it had. 

However, the car belonging to the male student had a decal that, upon closer inspection, was a fake copy. McCall then removed his decal, booted the car and waited for the student to come in to remove the boot.

While waiting for the suspected offender to come into the police station, TUPD officers patrolled the lot and found the same decal serial number twice more in that parking lot. 

When the student finally came into the station to remove the boot from his car, McCall said the student outwardly admitted he had printed multiple decals for some friends. His and his friends’ parking privileges on campus have been revoked. 

“This isn’t something we’ve never seen before,” McCall said. “We usually find one a year and we catch them and deal with it, but this is the first time we’ve seen a student print decals for other people.”

McCall said he has been working with Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves regarding changes to the parking rules and fines for the upcoming year. 

When contacted, Reeves said no decisions had been made and no new rules would be implemented until the Fall 2020 semester. However, McCall said they were considering adding “hefty fines” for possession of a counterfeit decal, towing of student cars found in faculty and staff parking, and an overall revamp of the ticket prices to discourage illegal parking.

Students, both commuter and resident, often argue that decal prices are simply too high, and McCall said he thinks that there just isn’t enough incentives for students to buy decals. 

“I personally don’t know why decals are $100,” McCall said. “Those fees are set by the financial office, and we don’t have any say-so over that.

“That money goes towards putting up lights in the parking lots and getting them re-paved and re-painted and all that.”

Compared to other universities in Alabama, parking at Troy is less expensive. According to the University of Alabama’s parking services information available online, their decals can cost anywhere from $155 to $760 depending on location and semester, but their ticket prices are very similar to Troy’s. However, citations are given much more strictly due to zoning and specificities of the decal.

The University of West Alabama’s parking services department charges much less for a decal –  $5 to $25 – but their ticket prices are steeper than Troy’s and increase on repeated offense. 

McCall said he does not understand why illegal parking is such an issue with students, considering the lot outside the Trojan Center is never all the way full. McCall also encourages any students who may have a variant of Troy’s current decal or any other forged one to remove it immediately before it becomes an issue of being prohibited from on-campus parking. 

According to the financial office, no moves toward decreasing decal prices will be made for the upcoming school year.

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