Parking inspectors - parkies, as they call themselves - refer to it as 'playing the game'.
It's when a person examines their car for chalk marks while on a lunch or cigarette break. If their car's mark-free, they'll leave it, even if the sign dictates it's time to move.
Access Canberra licence plate recognition team leader Isaac had a message for Canberrans: game over.
"We’ve taken a bit of that power back from people who are looking to exploit the restrictions because they don’t have that physical evidence to guide that behaviour," he said.
New data has revealed Civic as the worst for parking offences, with 12,744 fines doled out between December 1 and June 12. Phillip followed with 4075 infringements, then Bruce (2379), Garran (2260) and Belconnen (2079).
But figures also show that Canberra drivers are better adhering to parking restrictions since the introduction of two vans with mounted licence plate recognition cameras about six months ago.
The tools digitally - and therefore invisibly - chalk cars by noting their location. Each device actually has two cameras: one infrared, one colour. The infrared camera scans a person's number plate, while the colour images are used as evidence. Fines are not automatic but determined by the two parking inspectors manning the van who work together to interpret and apply the legislation.
The teams initially focused efforts on areas of high need. One was the area around Palmerston District Primary.
Enforcement around the school started on a fortnightly basis but moved to weekly then daily due to continued non-compliance. Eventually, the parkies noticed better behaviour.
The first patrol in December saw 23 infringement notices mailed out. The problem peaked with 73 fines in March. But by a May 1 patrol, only two drivers were fined.
Barton was another area of significant change. When the first morning inspectors drove through the suburb they issued 150 tickets. One day this month - when drivers weren't so sure whether their car had been noted or not - fewer than 30 infringements were clocked.
Indeed, Barton was the type of suburb for which the equipment was commissioned. With plenty of on-street time-restricted parking and countless public servants keen to avoid paying for parking, inspectors could spend an entire day trying to chalk every car on each street even once.
"There weren’t enough hours in the day to get back to everywhere you’d been to," Isaac said.
"There were massive sections you were having to leave and not return to because you were so busy."
The vans are more efficient - and safer. Isaac, whose last name has been withheld and face obscured for his own safety, recorded three assaults in three years as an on-foot inspector.
Verbal abuse happened "multiple times daily", he said. Isaac also mentioned people driving their cars at inspectors. Parkies can no longer remove the number plates of repeat offenders due to an incident involving a balcony and falling objects.
On-foot officers still conduct patrols as the cameras can't catch every offence. People also try to trick the vans by obstructing their plates. But common problems such as people overstaying in time-restricted spots, parking in no-stopping or loading zones and on nature strips can be caught.
And parkies are buoyed by the success of the cameras. Two more vans will be introduced to the fleet by December.
“Seeing the behavioural change was a big moment for us because that was a real signifying event of it actually working," Isaac said.
"Ultimately our aim is to correct those behaviours and improve safety."