The St. Johns neighborhood has a lot of meth addicts. This is a reality that is simultaneously fascinating and tiresome; the meth users who wander the area are clearly wrecked by the effects of drug use, and their decision-making processes suffer just like their skin, hair, teeth, and general physical health. As for genuinely violent criminal motivations, most of them seem incapable of much more than wandering the streets, high on meth, looking for cans to steal so they can 1) return them for the cash deposit value and 2) buy more meth.
We don’t have a fence. Not having a fence is, obviously, the same as having a sign out that says “meth heads welcome to rifle through contents of trash and recycling at will.” It’s possible to be standing right there and have a can wraith (our nickname for them) come up and start checking out your trash.
This is troubling, as we do not want to support the meth culture, however accidental and unintentional the aid may be.
Our current solution is simple:
1) Decoy glass recycling bin, visible from street, gets the wine bottles and other non-deposit items. If a meth head approaches the bin, he/she will assume that one of their colleagues has already collected the tribute. Meth heads being rather unmotivated, this is enough to keep them from further investigation.
2) Out of sight around the corner is the “real” recycling bin. Given our affection for microbrews, it’s quite the gold mine.
3) We return the bottles to the store ourselves, as there seems to be no other guaranteed way of keeping them from falling into meth-y hands.
But now I am faced with a dilemma: what to do with the deposit money? It’s not much, but it seems, I don’t know, special. I think we should start saving it up, but for what? More beer? Too easy. Trip to Europe? Would take too long, unless we dramatically increase our beer intake. Meth addiction program? Um, maybe. Is there a good one? I don’t know.