Whom do I call if I see vandalism or graffiti in progress?
Call the Police Department immediately at (707) 449-5200
How do pedestrian signals (walk/Don't Walk) work? They always seem to change before I get a chance to cross the street.
In Vacaville, pedestrian signals are included at any signalized intersection that is intended to accommodate pedestrian traffic. Pedestrian signals are carefully designed to provide reasonable time for crossing a specific street safely. Transportation engineers around the world are moving towards symbol signs in place of word signs. Symbols are easier for people to comprehend in a shorter amount of time, and do not present a language barrier for non-English speaking pedestrians. Pedestrian signal indications should be interpreted in the following manner:
A steady white color WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication means that you may begin crossing. (In Vacaville, the “WALK” indications typically displays for 6 seconds).
A flashing orange color UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DON’T WALK) signal indication means it is too late to leave the curb; however, any pedestrian already off the curb may proceed across to a sidewalk or safety island. In Vacaville, the duration of the flashing display is determined using the distance that the pedestrian has to cross, typically with a standard walking rate of 4 feet per second.
A steady orange color UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DON’T WALK) signal indication is a warning to pedestrians not to leave the curb enter the roadway as cross traffic will be receiving a green light to proceed.
Pedestrians should only leave the curb during the “WALK” period. Once the pedestrian signal changes to a steady burning “DON’T WALK” it is no longer safe for a pedestrian to be in the crosswalk. Regardless of what the symbol shows on the pedestrian signal, pedestrians should be cautious when crossing busy intersections.
Many people cross the street here. Can we get a crosswalk?
The City of Vacaville receives many requests for installing crosswalks on City streets. Crosswalks can either be "marked" with painted lines of white or yellow, or left "unmarked" at an intersection.
The purpose of a "marked" crosswalk is to encourage pedestrians to use a particular crossing. Normally, crosswalks are "marked" at places where there is an abundance of pedestrian movement, at a signal, and where pedestrians cannot recognize a proper place to cross. However, if "marked" crosswalks are not frequently used by pedestrians, then drivers tend to forget that they exist. As a result, accidents can occur when pedestrians rely on crosswalks to provide them with a safe barrier from traffic.
It is the City's policy not to install "marked" crosswalks mid-block (between intersections), except where the crosswalk is in front of, or directly adjacent to, schools. These crosswalks are painted yellow and imited to those locations where a crossing guard is posted during school hours.
As an added note.....National studies have shown that marked crosswalks actually increase the risk to pedestrians crossing the street. In these studies, it was found that pedestrians are given a false sense of security at "marked" crosswalks, and tend to blindly cross the street, trusting the crosswalk to keep them out of harm's way. As such, it is important that pedestrians remain attentive and cautious of on-coming vehicles on a roadway before crossing a street, regardless of the presence, or lack of, a crosswalk.
Can my neighborhood get a "Children At Play" sign posted?
Parents who are concerned about the safety of their children sometimes request that the City install "Children at Play" signs, believing that these signs will provide added protection to their children near roadways. However, studies have shown that posting "Children at Play" signs in residential areas does not reduce vehicle speeds or pedestrian accidents. In addition, the use of these signs creates a false sense of security in both parents and children.
Of particular concern is that "Children at Play" signs may suggest to children that it is acceptable to play in City streets, which could lead to devastating results. And, in the case of a vehicle/pedestrian accident, the pedestrian always loses. It is important to teach children to respect moving vehicles and how to be a safe pedestrian. Most importantly, children should not play in or near roadways.
"Children at Play" signs are not recognized by Federal or State law as official traffic control devices, and therefore are not installed by the City of Vacaville on public streets.
Won't speed bumps slow traffic on our streets?
Speed bumps are not recognized by the State of California as an official traffic control device, and as such the City of Vacaville does not use them on public streets.
Additional reasons for not using speed bumps are directly related to the experience of others. For example, many cities have experimented with speed bumps, but have noted a problem with their overall safety and effectiveness. Speed bumps have been found to cause injuries in case of accidents, increase noise levels in neighborhoods, and significantly reduce the response time of emergency vehicles. Also, no single design of speed bumps has been found to be successful in safely controlling the speed of all types of passenger vehicles. Furthermore, the Courts have made public agencies liable for the personal injuries related to the use of speed bumps.
How does the City decide when to install a traffic signal?
The purpose of a traffic signal is to assign right-of-way to opposing movements of traffic at an intersection. As such, it may be necessary to install a traffic signal if the traffic volume increases and four-way stop signs do not lessen problems. However, improperly placed traffic signals can cause an increase in traffic accidents, particularly rear end collisions. And, pedestrians can gain a false sense of security from crosswalks and red lights, which may result in an increase in pedestrian accidents.
Before installing a traffic signal at an intersection, traffic engineers have to evaluate the following questions:
Does the volume of vehicles entering an intersection create confusion or congestion?
Is there so much traffic on main streets that it may be dangerous for traffic on side streets to cross? Are accidents the result of this condition?
Is there an increasing demand for pedestrians to cross main streets?
Does the number of school children crossing a busy street create confusion, congestion, or hazardous conditions?
Will the installation of a signal reduce overall congestion?
Does the accident history indicate that a signal will reduce the number of accidents at an intersection?
Traffic engineers use national standards to evaluate an intersection that may need a traffic signal. Properly placing traffic signals will decrease accidents and improve traffic flow.
Traffic engineers and technicians are constantly upgrading the signal systems in the City. Traffic flow is being improved on major arterials in Vacaville by coordinating traffic signals, which will allow vehicles to travel along the signalized streets with fewer stops. If you think there is an intersection that should be studied for a traffic signal; or, if you notice an existing traffic signal that is not operating correctly, please contact the Traffic Engineering Division at (707) 449-5170.
What are the criteria for putting in a STOP sign?
There are two types of stop conditions at any intersection: Two-way Stop (only the minor street is stopped); and Multi-way Stop (both streets, i.e. all four legs, are required to stop). Stop signs should not be viewed as a cure-all for solving all traffic safety problems, but when used properly stop signs are a useful traffic control device, and enhance safety for all roadway users.
Many people request stop signs to be installed for the purpose of lowering speeds. However, the true purpose of a stop sign is solely to assign right-of-way at an intersection. Various research studies indicate that stop signs do not reduce the overall speed of traffic. As such, when stop signs are installed strictly for the purpose of slowing traffic, the speeds are reduced in the vicinity of the stop sign, but tend to be higher between the intersections. Also, the overuse of stop signs may cause general contempt for all traffic control devices, often with tragic consequences.
The City of Vacaville is required by law to comply with Federal and State guidelines when installing traffic control devices such as stop signs. For example, multi-way stop signs are installed at an intersection only after a Traffic Engineering study is completed which considers accident history, traffic volumes, speed of traffic, and sign distance problems.
Traffic accidents could be reduced, in some cases, with simple measures like improving visibility by prohibiting parking close to the intersection. However, If you have a question regarding a particular intersection, please contact the Traffic Engineering Division at (707) 449-5170.
Can the City post a lower speed limit on my street to slow down traffic?
Speeding is a problem that plagues most all of Vacaville's neighborhoods. As such, Traffic Engineering works closely with the Police Department to educate drivers and enforce speed laws in many areas of town.
Some widely held misconceptions are that speed limit signs lower the speed of traffic, reduce accidents and increase safety. However, most drivers pay little attention to speed limit signs, and drive at a speed that they consider comfortable. A driver's speed is more influenced by the appearance of the roadway and the prevailing traffic conditions than by the posted speed limit. In addition, research studies show there is no direct relationship between posted speed limits and the frequency of accidents. Non-the-less, posting appropriate speed limits establishes a steady flow of traffic, and simplifies the job of enforcement.
The City of Vacaville has posted speed limits that range from 25 to 65 miles per hour. These speeds are based on Traffic Engineering Surveys that take into consideration the roadway conditions, accident records, and the speed of drivers. The maximum speed limit for any passenger vehicle is 65 miles per hour.
All speed limits below 65 are either set by the California Vehicle Code (e.g. 25 miles per hour in business and residential areas, and 15 miles per hour in alleys), or have been established through a Traffic Engineering Survey. The speed limit is not always posted, but drivers are required to know to drive at a safe speed; this is referred to as the "Basic Speed Law" in the Uniform Vehicle Code.
How do I request a dismissal of charges?
If you currently have a case against another party and the charges are at the District Attorney’s Office, you can complete the proper form. When you have completed the form, submit it to us along with your picture ID for photocopy and attachment to the form. This information will then be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for their review. This is not a guarantee that the charges will be dismissed – it is only a review of such a request.
How do I submit a request for a Restraining Order?
If you are submitting a restraining order to the Police Department, first complete an information form available at the Records Section. You must have birthdates of all involved parties and an expiration date for the restraining order documented on the information form. After ensuring this information is included on the information form, you may submit the completed form to the Records Section. The information will be entered into the computer system and kept on file for our officers to reference when necessary.
I am planning an event, what do I need to do?
Each event is different. It is likely that you will need to contact some, if not all of the departments listed below. Contact them as part of your pre-planning to make sure you comply with the various regulations and laws. The internal review process can take time, depending upon the nature and size of your event, so please do not wait until the last minute. Some events take a month to process. For a variety of reasons, not all requests can be approved, and some requests may have other requirements such as insurance, security or fire protection.
If you will be using or closing a City street you will need to contact our Block Closure Coordinator (707) 449-5432 for block closure information and request; If you will be selling/distributing alcohol you will need to contact Police Field Services at (707) 449-5205 and ABC in Oakland (510) 622-4970; if you will be selling you will need a vendor's license, contact our Record's department (707) 449-5226. Contact the Fire department if you are planning on any open flames or using tents or canopies (707) 449-5452. Contact the Solano County Health Department if food is involved. Contact the Planning department to discuss any specific requirements based upon the location, number of days, and hours of the day (707) 449-5140.
Shouldn't the police to respond to every alarm call?
Your agreement with your alarm company is a private contract. The police are not obligated to respond to alarms, but we do so whenever possible.
Do other cities do this?
Many other cities charge for responding to false alarms. Responding to false alarms is a police service that primarily benefits the alarm company. Alarm Associations nationwide advocate charging for false alarms to encourage false alarm reduction and to recover costs incurred by the police when responding to alarms.
Who can I talk to about my bill?
Call (888) 509-9165. If you get our voicemail system, be sure and mention you have a question about an alarm bill. Provide the date, time, and location of the alarm, as well as a contact number. You may also visit www.famspermit.com/vacaville.
How do I appeal if I think the bill is wrong or unfair?
If you wish to appeal a false alarm fine, please contact the City of Vacaville False Alarm Reduction Program at (888) 509-9165 within 21 days of the invoice date.
What happens if I don’t pay?
Like any unpaid bill from the city, it will go to collection.
How can I prevent false alarms?
Know how your system works and make sure it is working properly. Contact your alarm company for help you if you encounter problems. Make sure that pets, kids, ceiling fans, and other things don’t create a problem for you. Your alarm company wants to help you prevent false alarms; call them.
Why are you billing for false alarms?
Since 1978 we have been billing for false alarms. The current ordinance authorizes us to do so. Responding to false alarms negatively impacts our ability to deal with real crime problems and provide proactive crime prevention. False alarms are preventable. Those who have alarm systems have made a choice to accept the responsibility to prevent false alarms.
My alarm is brand new, is there a grace period?
The current ordinance allows you to have false alarms without being billed for 30 days after the alarm is installed.
What is the definition of a false alarm?
From the Municipal Code: “False alarm means an alarm system that emits a light or sound or transmits a signal or message resulting in a response by public safety officers when the situation does not require a public safety response. False alarms caused as a result of power failures, power surges, or acts of nature not the fault of the alarm user or system subscriber or the alarm business shall not be considered to be a false alarm.”
Where can I read the ordinance?
The Municipal Codes are available online, at the public library, or at City Hall. The Alarm Ordinance is located in chapter 15.28, building security. The new amendments should be available soon. In addition, your alarm company is required to supply you with a copy of the new, revised ordinance.
Do I have to register my alarm, and what does it cost?
Operational alarms must be registered, and the cost is $26 per year. If you never turn your alarm on, you do not need to register. The alarm registration fee supports false alarm prevention activities, and allows us to operate more efficiently when responding to alarms. To register your alarm, please contact our Alarm Coordinator at (888) 509-9165 or register online at www.famspermit.com/vacaville. You may also register in person a the Vacaville Police Department located at 660 Merchant Street.
What happens to unclaimed property/evidence?
Property which remains unclaimed by a legal owner is sent to public auction; the proceeds of which are deposited into the City’s General Fund.
Do I have to turn in “Found Property?”
Section 2080 of the California Civil Code states in part that a person is not required to take charge of found property unless bound to do so by contract or law. But, if s/he does take charge of property valued at $100 or more and the owner is unknown or has not claimed the property, the person saving or finding the property shall, within a reasonable time turn the property over to the police department in the city or sheriff’s department in the county.
The police department or the sheriff's department shall then notify the owner, if his or her identity is reasonably ascertainable, that it possesses the property and where it may be claimed.
If the owner appears within 90 days, after receipt of the property by the police department or sheriff's department, proves his ownership of the property, and pays reasonable charges, the police department or sheriff's department shall restore the property to him.
Except in the case of found firearms and bicycles, if no owner appears and proves his or her ownership of the property within 90 days, the title shall vest in the person who found or saved the property, unless the property was found in the course of employment by an employee of any public agency, in which case the property shall be sold at public auction.
How do I arrange for the release of MY property?
In most cases you will receive notification from the Evidence Office staff of the releasablity of your property. It is important that you keep your address current with DMV as that is the most common means used for contacting you. You may call the Evidence Office at (707) 469-4707 to inquire about the status of your property or notify them of an address change.
What if my bike gets lost or stolen?
Bicycles are probably the most common items submitted as “Found Property.” Unfortunately very few people take the time to write down the serial numbers of their bikes. We would recommend that you make a record of the serial number and physical description of your bike AND license it with the City of Vacaville at the Police Department lobby. If your bike is lost or stolen you should make a report to the Police Department regardless of whether or not you have recorded the serial number. Every effort is made to compare the reports of lost/stolen bikes to the recovered bikes in an effort to identify the owners.
How can I obtain a copy of a traffic collision report?
Either personally request a copy of the report in person by filling out the report request form located at the front counter of the Vacaville Police Department or call our Records Division at (707) 449-5226. Please have your report number and/or the names of the parties involved for easier processing.
How long property is held?
Different types of property are held for different lengths of time. For instance: "Found Property" is held for a period of 90 days unless it is claimed by the owner.
"Safekeeping Property" can be held for 60 days. "Evidence" items are held until such time as they are no longer needed for trial or the statute of limitations expires. Statutes of limitations vary depending on the seriousness of the crime. Additionally, some items can be released pursuant to a court order or authorization from the District Attorney.
Do you respond to collision reports on private property?
We do not respond to or investigate traffic collisions on private property unless, the collision involves a hit & run where the responsible driver is known or a license plate number is obtained or there are injuries or a fatality. Should you be involved in a traffic collision on private property you should obtain the license plate numbers of the involved vehicles, obtain driver’s names, witness’ names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information. Upon obtaining this information you should contact your insurance agent for further assistance. A Counter Traffic report may be obtained at the Police Dept Records Section for individuals to complete themselves.
Do you tow vehicles from private property?
We do not tow vehicles from private property unless a vehicle is involved in criminal activity or the driver is arrested. A property owner may remove a vehicle from private property if the property is properly posted as per 22658 of the California Vehicle Code and all of the requirements of 22658 are met. The tow contact and response is the property owner's responsibility.
Does my child have to use a car seat?
Children must be secured in appropriate child passenger restraints (safety seat or booster seat) until they are at least 6 years old or weigh at least 60 pounds.
Can bicycles be ridden on sidewalks?
It is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk per City Ordinance 10.52.180.
How do I register my bicycle?
As required by the California Vehicle Code, you must register your bicycle. The fee for bicycle registration is $4.00 for a two year period. Complete the license application form and submit it to the Records Section. The bicycle’s serial number will then be verified and you will be provided with a registration sticker to affix to your bicycle.
There are speeding cars on my street and my kids play in the street. What can I do? Can I place cones in the street or a "Children at Play" sign in the street?
Should you have a speeding problem on your street please call the traffic line at (707) 449-5282 and provide the location, time of day and vehicle description. You will be contacted by a traffic officer. California Vehicle code section 21465 prohibits the placing of any unofficial sign, signal, device, or marking, or any sign, signal device. This section applies to "Children at Play" signs on the public roadway. This is an infraction and subject to a citation. This does not prohibit you from placing the "Children at Play" signs on your property. There is a City Ordinance that prohibits children playing in the street. The street is an extremely dangerous place for children to play. We encourage the use of public parks for the children to play.
What should I do if I have been involved in a traffic collision?
A person should first ensure that no one is injured. If there are no injuries the drivers should pull off into a parking lot or to a place of safety out of the roadway. If no one is injured, all parties should exchange information; driver’s license numbers, vehicle license numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance companies. The involved persons should also note if there were any passengers, the location of the collision, and the time of day.
If there are injuries involved or you feel that you need the assistance of the Vacaville Police Department for any reasons, please call 9-1-1 or (707) 449-5200 immediately.
What do I do if I receive a parking ticket?
A parking ticket fine can be paid at the Police Dept lobby, by mailing it to the address listed on the bottom of your citation, or online at www.pticket.com. Payment can be made at the Police Dept. in cash, check or money order. Payment by credit card can be made at City Hall Finance.
When you believe a parking ticket was issued in error you may request a Police Dept “Administrative Review” within 21 days of receiving the citation; or you may mail a letter of explanation to the address listed on the front of this brochure to the attention of “Parking Cite Review.” Please include any documentation, pictures, or paperwork that may support a dismissal. Also, legibly include your name, address, citation number, and phone number. You will be notified of the finding by mail within 15 days after your review request is submitted.
How do I get my vehicle out of impound?
The Records Section handles vehicle releases:
Please be prepared to provide your vehicle’s license plate number, VIN number, or a case number to assist the Records Section in locating the associated paperwork in a timely manner.
Some vehicles may be released immediately and others may be placed on a 30-day hold. When your vehicle has been placed on a 30-day hold and you wish to have it released sooner, the registered owner must complete an “Impound Hearing Form.” The Hearing Officer will contact the registered owner with his or her decision within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) after the form is submitted.
A vehicle can only be released to the registered owner. Transfer of ownership through DMV for a recently purchased vehicle must be completed before its release. When the registered owner is unable to come to the Police Department, a “Request Release Form” can be submitted to Records staff. If the registered owner is incarcerated, the jail can provide a vehicle release form for completion by registered owner. Both forms give another person permission to obtain the release on the registered owner’s behalf.
The vehicle must be currently registered or the registration must be formally in process. When your vehicle is not currently registered, you must go to DMV first to obtain the appropriate registration documents or a one-day moving permit. Bring the paperwork with you to the Police Department for the release process.
The registered owner must have a valid Driver’s License. When the Registered Owner does not have a valid license, they must bring a valid driver with them to the Police Department to obtain the release.
Vehicle release fees are as follows: Vehicles that are impounded or stored due to driver violations including the following CVC section: 14601, 14602, 14607, 22651(h)-driver arrested 22651(p)-driver unlicensed or suspended are $260. Vehicles that are impounded or stored due to vehicle violations including CVC sections: 22651(B)-obstructing traffic, 22651(n) road closure- notice posted, 22651(o)-registration expired over six months, 22651.5-continuous alarm within 500 feet of occupied building, 22669(a)- abandoned vehicles, 22669(d)-hazardous vehicle are $107. Vehicle release fess are payable in cash or money order and do not include the fees accrued at the tow yard. Each tow yard has specific requirements for a vehicle release. Call the tow yard at which your vehicle is stored to avoid any additional vehicle release delays.
GM Tow - (707)437-2989
Northbay Tow - (707)446-3345 / (800)540-5066
Vacaville Tow - (707)448-6340 / (800)400-6340
Jeff Ramirez Tow - (707)447-0974
What do I do if I lost my traffic citation or have a question about my traffic citation?
For any traffic citation questions contact the Solano County Courts, Traffic Division at (707) 421-7460 (Adults) or (707) 421-7631 (Juveniles). When you receive a citation for a traffic violation, the Solano County Courthouse will mail you a bill within 4 weeks. The Vacaville Police Department does not accept payment for traffic violation fines. When you receive a notice to correct a traffic citation (fix-it ticket) and the violation has been corrected, bring your citation and the related vehicle to the Police Department for the ticket to be signed off.
What are some of the laws I need to be aware of around schools?
Our Traffic Unit has prepared a list of frequently asked questions related to school zones.
How Do I Report a Stolen Bicycle?
Come to the Police Lobby and complete the bicycle report form, unless your bicycle was stolen from a locked garage, to the best of your knowledge. If you have a serial number, it can be entered into the computer database. When the form is complete, submit it to the Records Section and a case number will be assigned for the report. If you need assistance completing the form, you may take it to the front counter and request assistance from a staff member.
How Do I Report a Traffic Accident?
If you are involved in, or see, a traffic collision and someone is injured, call 911 to report the emergency. If you are involved in the accident, you will be making a collision report to the officers that respond. Both police officers and community services officers are trained to document traffic collisions.
If no one is injured in the collision, and the vehicles are drivable, move from the roadway to a safe place. You may call our non-emergency number, (707) 449-5200, to report the collision. In some cases exchanging names, driver's license and vehicle license numbers, addresses, insurance carrier information, and accident details is sufficient. If an officer responds, the officer can help make sure that the information is correct, and issue a case number. If no officer responds, you can obtain a "do-it-yourself" traffic collision kit from the police department at 660 Merchant Street during business hours. Help will be available at the department for completion of your report.
How To Do I Report a Crime?
When a crime is in progress, and it is an emergency, call 911 and provide the dispatcher as many details as you can. An officer will be dispatched to the incident, and a report will be taken as soon as the emergency is over.
If you need to report a crime that is not an emergency, you can call our non-emergency line, (707) 449-5200, and a call-taker will take the information. A police officer or community services officer will respond and take the report in most cases. Who responds is decided by the call-taker, based on the information you provide. Remember that emergencies take priority over non-emergencies, and delays may occur in handling non-emergency reports. You may also file some types of police reports online.
How Do I Make a Counter Report?
Counter Reports can be made at the Police Dept during business hours. You fill out the report, and our office staff is available to assist and answer questions.
In the event you are from out of town or cannot adjust your schedule to work with our staff, you may request a mail-in report. This report is sent to you and you complete the forms, returning them by mail. Mail-in reports should only be used when all other available options are not workable for you. If you have any questions about how to report a crime, call our Records Section at (707) 449-5229.