By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
Shopping cart thieves, beware! Well, maybe not.
At Tuesday’s Garden Grove City Council meeting the council voted in favor of a new ordinance that makes retailers responsible for keeping their shopping carts on their property.
“I feel it is rather unfair to be putting this on the stores themselves, this ordinance somewhat reminds me of our immigration enforcement policy in this country,” resident Charles Mitchell said. “People that steal shopping carts are breaking the law, they should be ticketed, they should be fined.”
The ordinance, once implemented, will require retail stores to enforce shopping cart containment systems. Currently the city is in charge of gathering abandoned carts and hires outside contractors to collect them.
In a report prepared by Keith Jones, director of public works, he estimates that the city spends $48,000 of the annual budget retrieving around 800 stolen carts every month. This ordinance is designed to free up some of the city’s funds for areas of greater need, due to budget issues.
“I believe we should do everything we can to keep those shopping carts off the streets and back in the stores where they belong and I think the stores need to take some interest in those carts themselves,” Councilman Bruce Broadwater said. “I think this is an improvement and I am certainly going to support it.”
Some large retail stores like Target and Albertsons are located on properties with big parking lots and would be required to install electronic devices around the perimeter, making this law discriminatory towards big retail stores, Mitchell said to the council.
The city is not looking to penalize retail stores, Jones said. Instead the ordinance will try to reduce shopping cart theft by educating stores on effective ways to keep their carts in their parking lots and face-to-face meetings.
“There is nothing worse then seeing a nice neighborhood where people dropped off a bunch of carts,” Mayor William Dalton said.