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UNDERSTANDING
THE SYSTEM


CLASS A:
FALSE STRAYS
TYPES 1–11

CLASS B:
TRUE STRAYS
TYPES 1–22

SELECTED SPECIMENS
• 1-40
• 41-80
• 81-120
• 121-160
• 161-200

RECENTLY
DOCUMENTED
SPECIMENS

SITE STUDIES
• CLEVELAND, OH
• NIAGARA GORGE
• SCAJAQUADA CREEK

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INFORMATION


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©2006 Julian Montague

 

This study focuses on stray shopping cart activity in and around the last 1.5 miles of Scajaquada Creek in Buffalo, New York. Scajaquada Creek begins in the eastern suburbs of Buffalo and ends at the Black Rock Canal, which flows parallel to the Niagara River. While one can find a wide range of CLASS A: FALSE STRAY and CLASS B: TRUE STRAY Types in the area, the Scajaquada site has a number of features, both geographic and social, which enable high levels of B/12 SIMPLE VANDALISM. The site is estimated to contain as many as 100 carts, many of them obscured by the murky waters. The high volume of specimens provides the stray cart observer with a range of vandalism related Types and transitional sequences. Most prominently are the B/17 REMOTE GROUPS formed by B/12 acts and the many examples of the B/12 SIMPLE VANDALISM, B/21 NATURALIZATION transitional sequence.

The actual number of B/12 acts committed is difficult to determine, as carts are removed from Sector 1 in an annual cleanup effort (see Common Transitional Sequence #3). Vandalized carts are also re-appropriated (transitions to B/4 ON/AS PERSONAL PROPERTY, B/8 STRUCTURAL MODIFICATION and others). It is also unclear to what degree the SOURCE AGENTS are willing to retrieve B/12 carts from the creek. During the years of this study it seemed that once a cart was in the water or deeply entangled in the underbrush, no attempt was made to recover it. Identifying acts of B/13 COMPLEX VANDALISM can be difficult because the creek is so easily accessible and there are few places where the geography makes obvious that a vandalism act would require three or more steps.

SOURCES
At the Scajaquada site the SOURCES are very physically close to the creek (See Sectors 1 and 2). The majority of the B/12 specimens found in the creek originate from SOURCE 1 and SOURCE 2, but it is not uncommon to find specimens from other nearby (within a 1 mile radius of the site) SOURCES or ARCHAIC SOURCES (see Common Transitional Sequence #2)

BICYCLE PATH
The paved path allows carts to be pushed with very little effort to within 10 to 20 feet of the creek.

BRIDGES
Bridges are generally the sites of B/12 SIMPLE VANDALISM activity. At the Scajaquada site specimens are commonly found in the water below BRIDGES 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8. The bridges built for the expressway on ramps are not as accessible and are less likely to be used by vandals.

GAP SPACE
The Stray Shopping Cart Identification System defines GAP SPACES as: Vacant lots, ditches, spaces between buildings, behind buildings, under bridges and overpasses, and all manner of vacant gaps between properties, public or private. The Scajaquada Creek site has a high percentage of GAP space, much of it overlapping with park space. While GAP spaces are most strongly associated with B/15 GAP MARGINALIZATION, the relative emptiness of such areas creates conditions favorable to B/12 acts.

TREES / UNDERBRUSH

The vegetation on the banks and the surrounding GAP spaces obscures vandalized carts. Specimens (particularly in Sectors 2 and 3 often remain in the same area for years. This situation makes transition to B/21 NATURALIZATION a common occurrence.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
It is possible that elementary, high school and college students in the immediate vicinity of the creek are responsible for committing a high percentage of B/12 acts.