Base Security tackles abandoned vehicle problem

An abandoned vehicle sits at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. There are currently an estimated 300 abandoned vehicles around the base, and roughly 30 vehicles are towed a month.

Story and photos by MC3 Justin Pacheco Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

There are several matters military bases have to deal with on a day-to-day basis — anything from security measures to environmental issues and, as is becoming more prevalent on and around Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH), vehicles being abandoned on base and creating safety concerns and parking problems for many service members.

“At this moment, we’ve currently identified nearly 300 abandoned vehicles around the base, and we tow roughly 30 vehicles a month,” said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Christopher Mayhew, JBPHH’s vehicle removal manager.

“We allocate a lot of resources and manpower to deal with this issue, but it’s become an increasing concern.”

Mayhew explains that many people are involved in dealing with the abandoned vehicles. The Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange has one tow truck that is used to tow the vehicles to a security lot on base, where the tow manager or another security representative is present to inventory the vehicle and record all pertinent information.

After the vehicle is inventoried, a request is sent to security’s main dispatching office to obtain background information on the vehicle including the last registered owner and last known address. Once this information is collected, it is then given to JBPHH’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department, who drafts a letter and sends it to the last known registered owner.

Once that letter is sent, the registered owner has 45 days to respond and either claim their vehicle or sign it over. Once the 45 days passes, the vehicle is eligible for auction.

Fortunately for service members, if you are leaving the area and do not wish to bring your vehicle with you, there are several easy options for properly disposing of it.

“The easiest option is MWR’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program that will tow your vehicle for a small fee,” Mayhew said. “The service member simply has to fill out a form, turn over the keys, and the tow manager will arrange a time to meet and sign the title over. They don’t even have to bring the vehicle anywhere, as long as it is on federal property. There are also similar programs around the island.”

Service members also have the option of “junking” their vehicle at no cost through the City and County of Honolulu, which can be done through any Satellite City Hall, or by visiting Service members will need to bring the vehicle’s title, registration and license plates.

Additionally, if service members are deploying and wish to avoid the hassle of having their vehicle towed, MWR offers vehicle storage for $1 a day, and they will perform maintenance and upkeep on your vehicle as well.

For more information on how to donate your vehicle to MWR or stow it during deployment, contact the Moanalua Auto Skills Center at 471-9072, or see JBPHH’s Security department’s All-Navy (ALNAV) message in the coming weeks, which will be distributed to all base commands.

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Category: News