The six police zones in Brussels issued 8,508 parking tickets in 2019 for the offence of parking in a disabled persons’ parking space.
The number is 1,009 more than in 2018, an increase attributed to a tougher policy on fighting this sort of parking offence.
The Brussels-Ixelles zone, with the largest population and the most extensive area, took the lion’s share, issuing 5,063 tickets
Brussels-West (Molenbeek, Jette, Ganshoren, Berchem-Ste-Agathe, Koekelberg) wrote 1,555 tickets and Brussels-North (Schaerbeek, St-Josse, Evere) 785.
Zone Brussels-South (Anderlecht, St-Gilles, Forest) issued 626 tickets, fewer than in 2018, while zone Marlow (Uccle, Watermael-Boitsfort, Auderghem) wrote 460 and Montgomery (Etterbeek, Woluwe-St-Pierre, Woluwe-St-Lambert) a mere 19.
A sizeable number of offenders were using out of date cards originally issued to people who were now deceased, or copies that had not been issued by the Directorate-General for persons with a disability.
At the end of last year, the Brussels region carried out a test project in Koekelberg which allowed police, parking patrols and community service workers to use an app to find out immediately if a parking permit for handicapped spaces was genuine or not.
The project appeared to have an immediate and dramatic deterrent effect. In 2018 there had been 5,167 checks, which turned up fraud in 13.55% of cases. In 2019, by contrast, there were 14,820 permits checked, with fraud in only 7.36% of cases.
Test projects were also carried out in Namur and Antwerp, and the app has now been rolled out to other police zones.
The latest figures are “challenging,” according to Matthieu Angelo, director of the accessibility collective for Wallonia and Brussels (CAWaB). And he pointed out that only 4,000 parking places are currently reserved for disabled people in Brussels, out of a total of 940,000 spaces in the capital.