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With decreasing costs of high-quality surveillance systems, human activity detection and tracking has become increasingly practical. Accordingly, automated systems have been designed for numerous detection tasks, but the task of detecting illegally parked vehicles has been left largely to the human operators of surveillance systems. We propose a methodology for detecting this event in real time by applying a novel image projection that reduces the dimensionality of the data and, thus, reduces the computational complexity of the segmentation and tracking processes. After event detection, we invert the transformation to recover the original appearance of the vehicle and to allow for further processing that may require 2-D data. We evaluate the performance of our algorithm using the i-LIDS vehicle detection challenge datasets as well as videos we have taken ourselves. These videos test the algorithm in a variety of outdoor conditions, including nighttime video and instances of sudden changes in weather.