A contributor to the Lawrence Journal-World named "smitty" explains the correlation between drugs and shoes hanging from powerlines in an alley near a shelter. It sounds very similar to what I’ve seen in Minneapolis:
There’s also a well organized small group at the wet shelter to supply you with drugs if you want. Just go to the alley beside the wet shelter where the shoes are hanging from the power lines. For those of you not in the know, the shoes are a well established signal of illegal drugs available under the hanging shoes.
Usually on Friday late afternoon and early evening there is a high number of cars driving in and out of the alley but not one of those vehicles are shelter residents, just visitors that never get out of their cars. Someone from the wet shelter parking lot goes out "to visit" for a while, smiles, handshakes, and off the visiting car goes. There is even a second exchange location at the alley between the Trinity and First Christian Church if the other line is full, you know, quick service line. It was so well organized that the bobby fisher chess guy was at the alley to get his supply a couple of weeks ago.
The local cops must be aware of what’s going on in that alley. Do they also see the correlation with shoefiti that "smitty" describes? If so, does Lawrence, KS, have a shoe removal policy in place? If not, does the act of NOT removing the shoes indirectly contribute to the local drug trade? Lawrence appears to take graffiti removal seriously. In fact, it’s ranked above sexual assaults on their site’s navigation. However, it sounds like shoefiti doesn’t carry the same weight, or "smitty" wouldn’t use the hanging shoes as a marker for drug dealing in his town.
What do you think? Should the shoes come down due to the perception of a correlation with drug dealing, or does a correlation truly exist? Should residents of Lawrence have to put up with litter on powerlines that’s clearly associated with nefarious activities, especially considering how easily the problem could be resolved?