By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A surge in the number of Sacramento code enforcement calls over dismantled and abandoned vehicles are leading to a new plan by city leaders to crack down on the problem.

The focus isn’t just on removing broken down cars public streets, but on private property too.

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They are vehicles that sit dismantled in front yards and driveways. Broken down and collecting dust.

Dale Herd owns a car that is not running now. It’s the rear window is broken and the backseat is packed with stuff. The car is in his driveway and he is using it for storage.

“Yes,” Herd said. “Right now I am.”

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Herd’s car is part of a growing problem for Sacramento code enforcement officers. In the past two years, the number of abandoned, wrecked and dismantled vehicles removed by Sacramento code enforcement has tripled.

“It was a dramatic increase,” Sacramento code enforcement chief Carl Simpson said. “And that’s what is puzzling to us. Is why that increase occurred.”

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Now Sacramento leaders are considering giving code enforcement officers new powers to remove the vehicles not only on public streets, but on private property by allowing the officers to seize vehicles if owners can’t prove the vehicles are operational.

“They’ll have to get in the vehicle, start the vehicle, and demonstrate the vehicle can be moved up to a foot,” Simpson said.

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Dale Herd says his car can run. Still, he’s concerned about the proposed code enforcement power.

“If they’re going to tell you what you can have on your property, what you can have here and what you can have there, it’s like saying you’ve got no freedom,” Herd said.

Sacramento driveways turned into dumps. And a new code enforcement tool for cleanup.

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The Sacramento law and legislation committee is scheduled to vote on the new code enforcement power May 8.