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Police planning officer to handle trash enforcement

Chief sees need to avoid ‘broken window theory’

September 07, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — Once the new plan to enforce trash rules with an officer is up and running, Police Chief Daniel Charette expects to see it have the same kind of effect the department’s snow parking enforcement has had in recent years.

“We have a very, very good trash program. … Unfortunately some people take advantage of that,” he said.

He plans to work under what’s called the “broken window theory,” which he summarized as: “If the neighborhood doesn’t care what it looks like, thing’s start getting worse very quickly.” That can start with dilapidated buildings or trash-strewn yards and devolve into crime havens and abandoned neighborhoods over time.

Town Manager Christopher Clark expects to have a police officer enforcing trash rules in place by November, but has to wait for the new civil service list first.

“There will be people who say to us ‘This is how we’ve always done it,’ … and people will say ‘Not interested,’” he predicted. If those folks aren’t willing to change how they dispose of trash, they’ll get ticketed and that may require enforcement by the courts.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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