Undesirable behavior on a public course

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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Pwingles » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:34 am

Im curious if crimes or incidents reported to police for specific areas are considered public information. If so that could go a long way towards getting cities on board with new dg parks if you could show them hard evidence that a dg park and more park goers leads to cleaner/safer parks.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Staghorn » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:59 pm

I play the course in question. I don't do drugs, but I do use foul language on occasion. First bomb I dropped in that park made me realise that isn't going to fly here, so I've been able keep the volume and frequency down on it out of consideration for other people in the vicinity.

The complaints are valid and, as I understand, measures are being taken to minimize the problem.

This is a public park and the facilities there are meant to be enjoyed by all, so 'pay to play' doesn't fit this situation. I think the best we can do for ourselves is to police our own ranks. A verbal warning from other golfers should be enough to stop the bad behavior. If not, both swearing in public and drug use are punishable offenses, by law. Sure don't want to have to call the cops on somebody, but if that's what it takes to keep the peace with the parks neighbors...

It might also help to post a large sign on the billboard at the first teepad asking golfers to keep their bad habits in check while using the park.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Three Puttz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:51 am

Just out of curiosity, where is swearing in public punishable by law?
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby martinb » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:27 am

Three Puttz wrote:Just out of curiosity, where is swearing in public punishable by law?


Utah
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Three Puttz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:23 am

martinb wrote:
Three Puttz wrote:Just out of curiosity, where is swearing in public punishable by law?


Utah

I know for a fact that isn't true. There was just some town in Utah that was trying to write an ordinance to make it illegal to use profanity in public parks. If profanity was already illegal in Utah, why would an ordinance specifically targeting public parks be necessary?
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Itchy » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:01 pm

Staghorn, I'm right there with you. Personally don't have anything against people who choose to do drugs (I don't) but the park isn't the place for it. Appreciate the self policing with the swearing too. I've talked to a few people I've run into on the course and seem to run into two different opinions on the swearing: 1) look the other way and pretend you didn't notice or 2) ask them to keep it down around the kids. Seems groups are more likely to talk to offenders. It's a new course and the first in town... I'm just hoping everybody settles in and everything calms down. Communication is key IMHO.

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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Staghorn » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:28 pm

Three Puttz wrote:Just out of curiosity, where is swearing in public punishable by law?


Everywhere. I'm not a lawyer, or a cop, but I know if it's enough of a nuisance to other people there's a law that can be applied to it. A blanket law like 'disturbing the peace' will do. Even if it was dismissed in court, you'll wish you didn't get pinched for it in the first place. We have ways of making you talk nicely.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby uNicedmeMan » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:22 pm

Sometimes what I plan on being a 30 second response turns into a dissertation, am I alone? I bet I'm not.

CliffsNotes Version:
Public response to activity on a disc golf course varies greatly on the state of the park prior to the installation of the course and the economic/crime state of the surrounding areas. Duh. I found it interesting enough to provide examples of both ends of the socio-economic spectrum here in Maryland.


I really enjoyed reading the stories in this thread where disc golf has helped improve improve the quality of park activity. There are two solid examples of this happening in Maryland:

Druid Hill DGC - Baltimore, MD (My home course)
The park is located in a very low income section of the city and the area where the course is used to be a hangout for hard drugs, prostitution, gang activity, illegal dumping and public sex. In the early days of the course (mid 80s), I am told it was difficult to play a round without coming across a needle or spent condom. I've been playing there for 6+ years now and while it's not completely free of undesirable activity, we feel safe enough to play glow and have yet to have a serious incident at the park. While disc golfers do tend to break certain substance laws, it seems the city and police are glad to have us as they have installed large recycling containers empty bottles & cans and are interested in expanding the course.

Schumaker Pond - Salisbury, MD
I am told the area where this course is located was less than desirable when it was installed and the city of Salisbury continues to battle crime issues. Over the handful of times I have played the course, I have noticed absolutely no suspicious activity in the park. What I have noticed was a wide variety of people, including children, enjoying the park by playing disc golf, fishing, walking, using the playground equipment, etc. I've heard no complaint of activity on the course from authorities or neighboring areas.

Inversely

Rockburn Branch DGC - Columbia, MD
This course was installed in a mostly unused area of a park in one of the richest counties in the nation (Howard County). Crime At the time the course was installed (1999), the DGC was lightly used by golfers or otherwise and was generally left alone by any the county / police. Since the installation of the course park use has increased significantly and while disc golf use has steadily increased, other activities (biking, basketball, volleyball, jogging, etc.) have increased at a much greater rate. Certain sections of the course are under constant threat of being removed to make room for other activities and disc golfers bear most of the cost/labor of maintaining the course all while a mega $130,000* bike facility was built on another segment of the park. The course has also been regularly patrolled by both park officials and police lately.

It would be interesting to know what the park mentioned in the OP looked like regarding undesirable activity before the park went in. Of the courses mentioned above, I assume the story of the OP park is more akin to Rockburn Branch than Druid Hill or Schumaker. I couldn't imagine anyone caring about profanity or a little "soft drug" usage at Druid Hill because of how much the simple presence of disc golfers has improved the park. I can also see why the wealthy Howard County isn't particularly interested in putting any time or money into disc golf when all they know about the sport is that it brings a bunch of littering** hippies, and takes up a bunch of land that higher class citizens could be using. What does this mean for the OP or the future state of disc golf? I dunno but I found it interesting food for thought.

*Note - Much of this money was generated by non-profit group MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts). MORE is a well organized group representing thousands of mountain bikers in the Mid-Atlantic. Disc golf needs more groups like this to get things done, bottom line, but that's a whole different rant.

**Note - The litter here is mostly empty beer containers and is everywhere despite anti-litter signage, I see much more litter at Rockburn than any other course in the state. The litter is not being generated by the golfers who participate in weekly events or tournaments; I know because we all clean up a ton of litter when we play. My hypothesis is that the litterers are mostly underage kids looking for a place to drink. They don't care about the future of disc golf at Rockburn and want to decrease their chances of being caught drinking by ditching the evidence.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby uNicedmeMan » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:49 pm

A park being mixed use vs a park being disc golf only is another factor I forgot to mention.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Itchy » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:28 pm

You'd be right equating it to Rockburn. It's in a fairly nice neighborhood up on the hill and was extremely underused before the DGC went in. In fact, the park host has had a ton of people asking if this was a new park... it's been around since 1973. It got a little bit of small children in the playground, a lot of use on the basketball court and seasonal youth sports. It also had some gang members who liked to hang out in the gazebo. littering (cigarette butts) is becoming an issue but the neighbors are complaining about the swearing and "soft" drug use. I guess it's just more people = more problems.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby Three Puttz » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:56 am

Staghorn wrote:
Three Puttz wrote:Just out of curiosity, where is swearing in public punishable by law?


Everywhere. I'm not a lawyer, or a cop, but I know if it's enough of a nuisance to other people there's a law that can be applied to it. A blanket law like 'disturbing the peace' will do. Even if it was dismissed in court, you'll wish you didn't get pinched for it in the first place. We have ways of making you talk nicely.

Disorderly Conduct is typically the most common of these catch all charges. Even then, just using profanity, even if it offends somebody, is not enough to be charged with anything. A lot of other factors, such as context, have to be taken into consideration, as well.

I'm aware of some archaic laws regarding profanity, but nothing that would be enforceable. You can sometimes find them on those wacky law lists you see from time to time, right along side of laws that stipulate how you can legally beat your wife and other laws of that nature.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby money 21 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:26 pm

I work in law enforcement and this one is touchy. At the very least law enforcement can be called out and that is the last thing someone wants.
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Re: Undesirable behavior on a public course

Postby martinb » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:58 am

Three Puttz wrote:
martinb wrote:
Three Puttz wrote:Just out of curiosity, where is swearing in public punishable by law?


Utah

I know for a fact that isn't true. There was just some town in Utah that was trying to write an ordinance to make it illegal to use profanity in public parks. If profanity was already illegal in Utah, why would an ordinance specifically targeting public parks be necessary?


West Valley city in Utah has an ordinance for swearing in public. you can be cited for it. does that ever happen? i doubt it.
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