Parking Lot Litter
Parking Lot Litter
October 18, 2008
Check out the trash littering the parking lot of the Office Depot and Aldi parking lot just west of Woodstock's Taco Bell. At 8:00AM today this is what the parking lot looked like, thanks to some unruly customers of Taco Bell, probably late last night or early this morning.
This parking lot is a frequent gathering place for groups of young adults and their cars. Do the police swing through when they see a bunch of cars there and check out plates and occupants?
When Jewel was the anchor tenant before moving up the street, there was a Vehicular Control Agreement in effect for this property. This Agreement allowed Woodstock Police to enforce traffic laws on this private property. If its terms are the usual terms, it's good for 20 years, and the police could take action when they see drivers congregated on the parking lot. It may still be in effect, because the Agreement is between the police department and the property owner or property manager.
When the first piece of paper flutters to the driveway, a police officer has probable cause to ID all drivers and passengers. Or maybe there is a taillight out or a license plate light out. There's the "PC". Swoop in and make contact cards - a record of who was there at that time.
When the kids know that the cops know who was there, they will be less likely to litter the parking lot. And who knows what else the police will find during an ID check? Probably a few with warrants out - why not make some easy arrests?
I stopped to visit with the Taco Bell employee on duty first thing this morning. While she said she would "try" to get someone to sweep up the trash, it was still there at 3:30PM.
When you see someone littering, note the car description and license plate. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org The chief's secretary will pass it along. When an officer spots the car and observes a violation, he'll have reason to make the traffic stop.
Following the chief's "broken window" theory and applying it to littering, are kids starting down a slippery slope when they toss litter like they did last night? Maybe a kid might just change his path through life, if he encounters a polite police officer early enough (or late enough).
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