Litter in La Marque, go to jail

LA MARQUE, TX When La Marque's new police chief moved to town last winter, one of the first things he noticed was all the litter.

"I jog in the morning and I was tripping over bottles and beer cans and diapers," said La Marque Police Chief Randall Aragon.

So a littering crackdown that begins in a few weeks became part of Chief Aragon's community policing policies, based on something he calls the "broken window" theory.

"You don't take care of the little things -- graffiti, littering, stuff like that -- it turns into big things and usually violent crimes," he said.

Beginning August 1, La Marque police officers will begin arresting people caught littering and booking them into the city jail. If they're convicted of the Class C misdemeanor, they could face a $297 fine or community service picking up trash two weekends a month. It's what some locals call extreme.

Resident Lynnray Ellison said, "I think they should go through the process first of fining, with tickets. You have to pay a ticket."

But at least one La Marque resident who admits to littering in the past says the crackdown will make him think twice next time.

"I don't want to go to jail," said resident Thomas Peace. "It's wrong, and I tell my kids all the time not to do it and then I go and do it sometimes."

That's exactly the mark Chief Aragon wants to make with a littering crackdown.

He said, "If you commit a crime in our city, you're going to go to jail and so it's not only littering."

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