Baltimore Crime: Poop Window
by Mickey Kinsley
Baltimore- Police have reported that multiple cars in various South Baltimore neighborhoods were poop windowed on Sunday night. The final poop windowing of the recent rash marks the 27th such attack so far this year, a 45% increase from a year ago. No suspects have been identified, but one local witness (who has asked to remain nameless in fear of being targeted) stated that he saw a group of three dark-clothed males carrying bags of dog feces walking down Charles Street…sans a dog.
Baltimore has long had its battles with neighborhood crime. Its fight to keep drugs off the street was well documented in the hit HBO drama, “The Wire.” Baltimore has been recognized nationally for a poor police presence and crime infested neighborhoods. In recent years, under new leadership, the Baltimore City Police Department has worked tirelessly, only to see modest improvements in cracking down on drug trafficking, violent crime, and murders. However modest, the improvement is a sign that the BCPD and city hall are working together to thwart the city’s violent crimes. In 2011, much of the BCPD’s attention was focused on lowering the City’s fourth-worst national murder rate. This strong focus left the door open for other crimes to seep into the city’s landscape. In 2011, poop window crimes went up a whopping 435% from 2010.
The act of poop windowing itself is so hateful and despicable, spokespeople from the city’s department have declined to comment for this article. The criminal definition of a poop window leaves no doubt in a court of law whether a serious crime has in fact been committed. Legal dictionaries read that the act of committing a poop window is, “Typically placing, and less frequently slinging or hurling, a bag of dog feces onto the windshield of a parked car, with the malicious intent for the feces to be smeared into the windshield by the windshield wipers upon starting of the ignition of an automobile. In the “Classic” style, the feces will generally stay in the bag, and not be dumped (or poured, depending upon the consistency of the feces) out of the bag onto the windshield. However, in some regions, the act of removing said feces from its plastic container is called “Southern Pooping,” and is thought to be popular amongst the lower socio-economic classes. Those perpetrating the act in the Northeast have been known to use paper bags, which has been referred to as “Papey-Pooping.”
While Baltimore has always been a “Classic” style poop window town, officers have recently seen a spike in the different method of poop windowing. A November police report from Locust Point retold a scene where two individuals hurled feces bags onto a vehicle nearly 40 yards away. Gone are the days where criminals carefully created a poop window by gently placing the bag on the windshield. The cavalier attitude, common among today’s poop window criminals, goes against everything the original poop window criminals set out to achieve. Earliest reports of poop window “artists” date back to 1971. The originators of this blue collar crime first started poop windowing cars out of necessity while walking their dogs, hastily looking for a city trashcan to dispose of their pets’ waste, only to find the comforts of a clean row of windshields lining the city streets. It was a lazy, selfish oasis for dog walkers who didn’t want to walk the extra 15 steps to find a trashcan. The city adapted to the surge of poop windows by adding more convenient trashcans on city streets. Poop windowing went away for quite some time, only to see it return worse than ever 5 years ago.
“The Boston Poop Window Summer,” in 1997, notoriously came at the hands of a dog kennel assistant who had access to hundreds of animals. But BCPD crime scene lab technicians tested the poop window remnants of Sunday night’s attacks to determine the nature of the feces. These tests have ruled out multiple sources for the poop windows, and believe the incidents stem from a lone “poop window bandit.” Seven cars were attacked Sunday night. The felonious wrongdoer didn’t discriminate against vehicles either, poop windowing both foreign and domestic vehicles.
South Baltimore’s neighborhood of Federal Hill has been rocked by random poop windows over the past three months. The unpredictability and the severity of such poop window attacks has neighborhood business owners calling for a nightly curfew to empty the streets. While a curfew is not likely a realistic option, residents have been outspoken about the need for more Baltimore City police cameras. The reasoning goes that the flashing blue light cameras would act as a deterrent for would-be poop windowers and, in turn, may provide comfort for potential poop windowees in the community.
Baltimore police have wrestled with the legal obligations of protecting residents, while simultaneously respecting the human rights of dog walkers carrying their pets’ waste. In February, an innocent man was accosted by a police officer on the corner of Riverside drive and Fort Avenue after the officer saw him carrying a bag of feces but no dog leash. The man reportedly had just taken his dog inside, and came back out to discard the feces into a city street trashcan. The altercation was captured by a passerby; however BCPD quickly acted to remove the damning video evidence from YouTube.
Aside from poop windows being a hate crime against all of humanity, they truly are an ugly stain on the city’s ever improving “greenscape.” The city has a growing “urban renewal beautification budget” dedicated to keeping the city spruce and vibrant, as well as clean and modern. Some local politicians are jumping on the poop window cause, while the topic is still steaming. Just a day ago, politicians gathered at City Hall to support a bill that would designate a portion of the city’s urban renewal budget to the vigilant cleanup of poop window crime scenes. In reality, realigning the budget will be an extremely tough fight, especially considering a significant number of lawmakers fear being caught on the wrong side of a potential poop window smear campaign.
The future of poop window legislation and funding is unclear at this time. What is clear, however, is that summer is quickly approaching. And the last thing Baltimore residents want is a full blown poop window epidemic in hot and hazy 90-degree Baltimore city.