Chicago Makes $264 Million In Traffic Tickets, Drives Thousands Of People Into Bankruptcy

A new report has found that thousands of Chicago residents file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy because they cannot afford to pay parking, traffic and vehicle complianc tickets.

ProPublica Illinois reports that over 10,000 people filed Chapter 13 bankruptcies in 2017. Those people had an average debt to the city of about $3,900 each.

The city did not increase the number of tickets, but did increase the costs of fines, the traffic camera program and pushed for more driver’s license suspensions.

Chicago courts reportedly lead the nation in Chapter 13 filings, while Chicago’s ticketing revenue made nearly $264 million in 2016.

Chicago writes more than 3 million tickets for everything from parking, vehicle compliance to traffic camera violations.

According to a ProPublica Illinois analysis of ticket data — since 2007 — black people are hit the hardest by this mass ticketing:

Eight of the 10 ZIP codes with the most accumulated ticket debt per adult are majority black… Those neighborhoods account for 40 percent of all debt, though they account for only 22 percent of all the tickets issued in the city over the past decade — suggesting how the debt burdens the poor.

(Source: ProPublica Illinois, Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab/Flickr)

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