This Michigan town just decriminalized public urination, defecation and littering
City leaders in Kalamazoo, Michigan voted unanimously last week to decriminalize public defecation, littering and urination.
Driving the news: The acts are now considered civil offenses rather than misdemeanors, which means you can no longer face jail time for committing the offenses.
- Other civil offenses include speeding, stop signs and reckless driving, usually resulting in fines and possible points on your driving record.
What they say : Some local Kalamazoo business owners are upset with the changes, saying they fear problems with litter and public defecation near their stores will worsen.
- Pop City Popcorn co-owner Becky Bil told Fox News about her concerns about the surrounding stores, saying, “I’m not having a horrible time outside of my particular store…but my neighbor had human excrement outside his door.”
- Cherri Emery, owner of a local chocolate and cafe, said her store had also encountered problems. “One day we kept smelling something in the back of the store…and it was human feces,” she said.
- “I called my landlord and no one did anything about it. That was before we had ambassadors…so I had to clean it up myself,” Emery continued, according to Fox News.
- Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson said “he hopes the change will allow police to make better use of their time related to these issues, and that the effort is part of amending ordinances for fairness,” reported M Live.
- “I hear you. … The approach of criminalizing these activities also did nothing about that,” Anderson continued.
So is it still illegal? Yes, public urination, defecation and littering are still against the law in Kalamazoo. City Attorney Clyde Robinson spoke about the city code changes, saying, “It still remains a violation of our city’s ordinances. We haven’t changed that,” according to Wood TV.
- “It’s still against the law, but we’ve changed the sentence to a civil offence, which means there’s no jury trial and it’s proof by a preponderance of the evidence,” continued Robinson.
Details: According to the New York Post, Kalamazoo “recently installed an approximately $100,000 fully furnished restroom near the Kalamazoo Mall” to help control urine and feces on the streets.