I live in a town of about 20,000 people, plus a large college student influx in late August, in the state of New York. Not far from my house there is a dam in a creek. Just above the dam, there are bluffs on either side where people like to jump off from very high up into the water. Then they swim over to the bank and clamber up the (eroded) slope to do it again.
News about the thrill of jumping at this spot has been spreading throughout the region, and the spot is now attracting 300 people per day in good weather.
There are a number of problems with this: - Alcohol and serious drug use is increasing among the visitors (e.g. Ecstasy). - We're starting to see all-night parties occurring there. - The visitors leave their cars on nearby residential streets and cause a public nuisance -- littering, blocking residents' access to their driveways, peeing on people's lawns, changing clothes in public, being rude to residents. - There are occasional injuries at the location and every few years someone drowns there.
Swimming, jumping, drinking, littering and staying past dark are all illegal there, but these activities are only a violation. Penalties are listed as "a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 15 days, and not less than $100 or 25 hours of community service."
Our local law enforcement doesn't have enough staffing to go there every day to patrol the area, and when they do go, they feel so outnumbered that they don't feel that it's safe to issue citations -- they are concerned there might be a violent backlash from the crowd.
Question 1: Would it be stronger deterrent to make swimming and jumping a criminal offense, with stronger penalties?
Question 2: How would concerned citizens draft a law to make swimming and jumping a criminal offense?
Question 3: The creek is owned by the City (the smallest entity geographically); the area around the dam is under Town jurisdiction; the policing around the dam is provided by the County sheriff's department, because the Town does not have its own police force. My question is, at which level should we propose a stronger law?
Question 4: Anything else to suggest? Barbed wire? near water's edge, tangled in with the underbrush?