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