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Tramps, Loafers and Unemployables
February 18, 2010 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Past solutions for The Vagrancy Problem focused on labour houses and farm colonies to strip the highways of "the homeless and confirmed idlers."[pdf] But times have changed and society has progressed.

As a legal term, Vagrancy (from Anglo-Norman French vagarant ‘wandering around’), is often used as a device for police and prosecutors to denounce or condemn a wide range of behaviours. But in modern times when vagrancy laws get overturned for being too vague or giving too much power to police (Margaret PAPACHRISTOU et al. v. CITY OF JACKSONVILLE, 1972 and others), techniques are tending towards deterrents, such as the "vagrant deterrent system:" an unceasing, ear-piercing alarm which is being employed this week in Toronto at a downtown bank machine. Then there's the "SkunkShot."
posted by chococat (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe if some well-meaning neighbor skunk-shotted that bank machine they wouldn't feel some compelled to blast the neighborhood with high-pitched annoyance.
posted by ghharr at 12:52 PM on February 18, 2010


"so compelled"
posted by ghharr at 12:53 PM on February 18, 2010


Hmm, I need some of that skunkshot for my back alley.

I wonder how far the stench carries on the breeze...
I'd still like to be able to open my windows.
posted by madajb at 12:55 PM on February 18, 2010


Don't forget how useful classical music can be as a deterrent to loitering and crime. A library that I sometimes use, which happens to be located in a marginal neighborhood, tried this technique to clear the plaza in front of its doors of idle teens, and enjoyed remarkable success. The masses are threatened by classical music, as they are by all forms of excellence in their environment. "I have to get out of here, someone may expect me to take responsibility for my life, or show some intelligence, or move outside the comfort zone of mediocrity. Shoot me, club me, lock me up -- anything but that!"
posted by Faze at 1:55 PM on February 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wonder what would happen if they played classical music in prisons?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:12 PM on February 18, 2010


Faze: "classical music can be as a deterrent to loitering and crime"

That's great, because I like listening to unceasing, ear-piercing tones.
posted by idiopath at 7:07 PM on February 18, 2010


I wonder if it would be possible to destroy an extremely alarm by creating a sound blocking/reflecting wall to exacting standards in just the right shape...
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:09 PM on February 18, 2010


So how did that work farm idea work out? Sounds like a concentration camp for homeless.

And I like that they called them "confirmed idlers" and "urban loafers". Contrast that with the "able-bodied paupers". Like being fit enough to be a manual laborer was enough to ensure that they had sufficient opportunity to provide for themselves. It sucks to be poor (I gather).
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:42 PM on February 19, 2010


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