Abuse of parking officers in Tauranga went through the roof last year and there have been three physical attacks since 2016.
Data provided by Tauranga City Council under official information legislation shows 26 instances of officers being verbally abused since 2016.
There were 15 cases of people verbally abusing officers in 2020, more than three times the period's previous high of four cases, in 2017.
Council parking officer Stuart, who asked that his last name not be published, thought the pandemic could be to blame.
"Times are changing, people are stressed out there and spending their dollars elsewhere," he said. "It's a hard time out there with Covid-19 and people losing their jobs.
"We feel for those people but there are still certain laws and regulations that people need to follow. Most of the time encounters are positive."
The data also showed there were cases of an officer being physically abused in the years 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Stuart had never been physically assaulted in Tauranga but had someone try to run him over on a footpath in Hamilton.
He has copped verbal abuse in Tauranga, however.
"Unfortunately, people do look at us in a negative light but they need to realise we're doing our job for the lovely community that is Tauranga," he said.
"We're doing what we're doing because you're doing something wrong. We aren't picking on people, going out there looking for illegally parked cars."
Stuart said "nine times out of 10" officers only showed up after someone had complained about illegally parked vehicles.
"In an ideal world, we wouldn't have a job. If everybody behaved I'd be unemployed."
Tauranga City Council regulatory and compliance general manager Barbara Dempsey said all abuse staff receive was upsetting and disappointing.
Anyone who was abused was provided with support. If behaviour towards them became threatening, the police would be notified, she said.
Stuart said parking officers wear a safety camera that can be turned on to record confrontations.
The team of officers also had a strong support network who talked about experiences among themselves and counselling was available if they needed it, Stuart said.
More than 100,000 vehicles have been pinged for breaking parking rules in Tauranga over the past five years.
Council data showed 103,496 infringement notices were issued for stationary vehicles between 2015 and 2020.
Special-lane infringements pumped up the total to 110,327 and 51 cars were towed.
The total infringement revenue for the five-year period amounted to $3 million.
Far and away, the street with the most infringements reported over the period was Cameron Rd with nearly 8000 tickets issued over the five years.
Hairini St followed with about 4500 — all of them last year. That's when the council began enforcing bus lane transgressions on Hairini St.
Grey St, Elizabeth St, Maunganui Rd, Devonport Rd, Hewletts Rd (which also has a bus lane), and First Ave rounded off the other ticketing hotspots.
All parking fine revenue, including the $3m, contributes to the council's ongoing costs of running and maintaining the city's parking function, Dempsey said.
"This includes maintenance of parking infrastructure such as buildings, meters, car parks and the personnel cost of enforcement, and it's helped cover some of the costs of the free parking that the council offered during the Covid-19 lockdowns and the current free parking trial," she said.
"Fines relating to vehicle registrations and WOFs are collected on behalf of the Crown and 50 per cent is retained by Tauranga City Council."