How Issaquah, Federal Way are tackling shopping cart theft
The city of Issaquah says the number of abandoned carts has dropped by 90% since its new ordinance went into effect a year ago.
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Many cities in western Washington are dealing with shopping cart theft and abandonment. It’s a problem that cities want to solve and stores need help with.
Cart theft used to be a big problem for the City of Issaquah.
“We will drive through the hub and you will see 50 to 100 trolleys at any one time. Jen Davis Hayes, economic development director for the City of Issaquah, said. “And that’s after a few days it was collected before.”
But Hayes said the problem has improved dramatically. A year ago, an ordinance went into effect requiring 13 major Issaquah retailers to store and collect their own strollers.
“So we don’t ask them to install a system,” says Hayes. “Some people install wheel locks, some hire a service to collect cars.”
In the last six months of 2021, the city recorded 1,000 abandoned carts. Over a 9-month period in 2022, they found only 100.
“It’s an absolutely amazing response to how it works,” says Hayes.
If stores don’t stock their carts efficiently, they could be fined. But Hayes says they don’t have to go that far. She said the ordinance allows for a partnership in which the city and retailers work together to prevent shoplifting and theft as well as keeping Issaquah clutter-free with carts.
“So our plan is to continue to maintain that open dialogue with retailers and learn about the problems they are facing, and provide them with resources,” says Hayes. and the chance to succeed at Issaquah.
In Federation City, officials are taking a different approach. They amended an ordinance in November making it a civil offense to push a stroller on the sidewalk or road. Violators of the law can be fined $50 and have their carts confiscated.
“There are no tickets for this moment,” said Jack Walsh, Federal Councilor. “And we’re working on putting out warnings, letting them know about that, what’s going to happen.”
Walsh said the new ordinance has yet to be fully implemented as the city is working to get a truck to collect the carts and more staff to collect them, which the ordinance already allows for funding.
“It will take some time for things to start to fully execute,” says Walsh.
When it comes to Federal Way businesses, they are encouraged to put labels on their carts. If their car is labeled, then they can get it back for free from the city. Otherwise, they have to pay $50.
“So it’s in the best interests of the stores to make sure they’re properly labeled,” says Walsh. “It helps stores and helps enforcement. It helps everything around.
Clock: Federal Way Shopping Cart Ordinance Revised
https://www.king5.com/article/news/crime/western-washington-cities-shopping-cart-theft/281-bd2e908d-485f-41b1-a023-1d7bcce09f1b How Issaquah, Federal Way are tackling shopping cart theft