Robin Hooders saving people from parking fines

I saw this at the Free Thought Project:

Parking Meter Activists Under Fire After Saving Drivers $80,000 in Fines

Stepping in between the State and their revenue stream can be quite hazardous.

Activists in Keene, New Hampshire have adopted a charitable strategy in dealing with unacceptable parking policies that the local government has in place.

For years, groups of Keene residents known as “Robin Hooders” have walked the streets filling expired parking meters with their own money, in order to save people from getting parking tickets.

Occasionally, when they encounter an angry parking enforcer, they are prepared to film the situation with their smart phones.

When the Robin Hooders come across a car that already has a ticket on it, they will place some information on the person’s windshield, which provides tips on how to beat the ticket in court.

Robin Hood activist and radio show host Ian Freeman estimates that they prevented at least 8,000 tickets in 2013, saving Keene motorists an estimated $80,000 in that year alone. These savings have not gone unnoticed by the local government, who have become concerned about the revenue that they are missing out on.

In 2013, an amusing rivalry between the Robin Hood activists and city employees turned into a legal battle, when parking enforcers claimed that they felt “threatened”, and the city government filed a pair of lawsuits against six Keene activists accused of organizing many of the Robin Hood efforts.


Read the rest there.

Have you ever done this? I have.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. I love it. I bet they don’t even wear tights, either.

    It’s like warning people where speeding cameras are. It slows them down. Isn’t that the idea? And yet certain authorities get peeved because their revenue stream is thus interrupted …

  2. Jerry says:

    ‘In 2013, an amusing rivalry between the Robin Hood activists and city employees turned into a legal battle, when parking enforcers claimed that they felt “threatened”’

    At least on the surface, it seems a psychologist would be more effective than a lawyer for curing this problem.

  3. disco says:

    I’ve never gotten into it with a meter maid, but I’ve tossed a quarter into an expiring meter many a time.

    Some neighborhoods have these nefarious devices that print out cards that you have to affix to your window that show an expiration of time. Not only do they prevent you from using time already paid for at a meter, but someone unfamiliar with the process may erroneously believe he has found himself a free spot.

  4. APX says:

    I did once. I saw a parking enforcement officer waiting for the meter to expire on my way out of Ash Wednesday Mass at a down church. It really annoyed me, so I went up to the meter and put a loonie in.

  5. AndyMo says:

    1. Cop Block is one of the sketchiest sites out there. Most of their videos show people harassing the police and then playing Victimhood when they get in trouble.

    2. This video is no different. The group is in trouble not just for feeding the meters, but for harassing the officer, which they did right on camera.

  6. capchoirgirl says:

    I do all the time. I’ll also put extra change into the meter as I’m leaving, because I know how much I love that feeling of finding a “fed” meter when I pull into a spot!

  7. gracie says:

    ‘Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen;
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men.
    Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood.’

  8. VexillaRegis says:

    You still have those meters?!? I think I saw the last one here (Scandinavia) about ten years ago, or so. Here we only have different kinds of centrally placed ticket meters where you pay either with coins, card or cell phone.

  9. Mike says:

    I used to do that, once in a (too seldom) while, long ago. With cell-phone payment becoming the norm in the U.S. national capital area, it no longer makes sense: the car at a meter showing ‘0:00’ may actually have had its parking paid for with a cell phone, so sticking a quarter in the meter just gives free money to the county.

  10. Makemeaspark says:

    May God richly bless the Robin Hoods of this world, and especially those of you here who throw the extra nickel on the meter or leave time on the meter!

    As a poor unemployed person (with multiple degrees and student loans to prove it!). I often pray for a parking spot in metered areas with a little on it. You are may ebeneezer!

  11. Lisieux says:

    Alas, in England that’s called ‘feeding the meter’, and it’s illegal. On reaching the initial expiry time, the car must be moved, and one’s not allowed to park in the same set of bays, even at another meter.


  12. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Warning to Zed Heads parking in DC: We used to have a lot of metered spots that were posted for a two hour limit during some time period, say until 6:30 pm. After 6:30, you could park without a time limit and without paying. That has changed: now the time limit ends at 6:30 but you still have to feed the meter. I got tagged with a ticket the other evening. Parking is big business here and there have been many, many changes to put meters where there were none and to extend the time when payment is required, often to 10 pm. I ride my bike whenever I can.

    Off now to Vespers of Christ the King, extraordinary form, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, under the care of the St. Philip Neri Oratorian community in formation.

  13. KateD says:

    And then there is always Cool Hand Luke’s solution:

  14. Bea says:

    Reminds me of an incident when I was a young office worker.
    One of the richest men in town came in to see my boss.
    Meters then took pennies for 12 minutes/a nickel for 1 hour (am I dating myself?).
    The man went into the office and requested change for a nickel, explaining he was only going to talk to my boss for just a few minutes.
    I would have just put in the nickel and not fretted about it.
    I guess that’s why he was rich and I’m not.

  15. While one purpose of parking meters is to generate revenue, another purpose is to promote turnover in areas where it is needed. People who park all day (or even just a long time) in front of a merchant’s store are doing harm to that merchant, whose livelihood may depend on turnover, and are actually being inconsiderate– they generally deserve to be ticketed and pay a fine. As someone else observed, even if the car owner puts additional money in the meter after the maximum period has been reached, that is illegal and the car is subject to ticketing anyway. Police often drive along the street chalking vehicles to make sure that the maximum period is not exceeded. The name “Robin Hood” is actually quite appropriate here as people who do this are helping one group of people but committing another wrong in the process, which generally is not moral. One would be hard-pressed to argue any sort of necessity here to justify the wrong.

  16. MikeM says:

    The parking people in my city (Philadelphia) are crooks. They deliberately give people tickets when they don’t deserve them. They are so slimy that they started telling people who received tickets when they had paid the kiosks (in the parts of the city where you have to put the receipt on your windshield) that they could challenge the ticket by mailing the receipt to them. They didn’t bother to review the situations… They knew that they could string you along until it was too late to challenge it in court (and that a lot of people would have mailed them their only copy of the receipt, anyway). They are city sanctioned gangsters. I do ANYTHING that I can legally do to frustrate their efforts.

  17. Imrahil says:

    Dear Philippa Martyr,

    no, the idea of a speeding ticket is not to slow them down just where they would get caught. It is to slow them down everywhere, and to put the non-compliers under a constant threat.

    That said… buying a ticket for others, why not. Challenging tickets already given, why that for? They parked where they they shouldn’t have.

    [Note: I instinctly think of parking tickets as about €10 and not terribly speedy speeding tickets at around €40, with virtually no immediate threat to the driver’s license either way; so I don’t take these as seriously as maybe they would be elsewhere.]

  18. The Masked Chicken says:

    “For years, groups of Keene residents known as “Robin Hooders” have walked the streets filling expired parking meters with their own money, in order to save people from getting parking tickets.”

    Ohh, ohh…can I be Friar Chicken, can I, can I, pretty, please?

    The Chicken

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    I’d rather be Friar Chicken than a chicken fryer!

    The Chicken

  20. frival says:

    Because of this kind of activity it’s now illegal in some towns and cities in the area to pay for someone else’s meter. Cities take a very dim view of people cutting off their revenue streams…

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