Police here have stepped up enforcement in a specific area of Main Street where youths and young adults have spilled over into residential areas.
Spanish Fork Police Lt. Carl Johnston said focusing nighttime enforcement in the area of 800 to 900 N. Main between 100 East and 100 West during the past month has led to an increase in arrests and citations for such incidents as illegal alcohol use, trespassing and traffic violations."If you have a taillight out in that area you will get a ticket," he said.
One resident complained that drug paraphernalia was discarded in his yard, but Johnston said he hasn't encountered any more of that during the stepped-up enforcement of the area.
"It's not Spanish Fork people we're arresting," said Johnston. Rather they are historically from as far north as Logan and as far south as St. George; as far east as Vernal and as far west as Delta, he said. Most are between 17 and 25 years old.
Cruising Main has been going on for decades.
When 19-year-old D.J. drags Main Street, it's more of a social ritual. He said his dad remembers doing it, as well. A Spanish Fork resident all his life, D.J. goes to get away from home for the evening and meet friends.
"It's a good place to meet women," he said. "All I do is find me a group of guys and talk with them. The girls do the same thing and try to find them some men for the night."
Most of the people he knows who participate in this ritual are high school kids. "When I see older people, that just tells me they need to get a life," he said.
It's the teens from out of town who are abusing alcohol, D.J. said. "They know they'd get busted in their hometowns, so they come here."
Stores along the street have cooperated with police by posting no-parking signs after hours, but that and enforcement along Main Street have apparently pushed young drivers into residential areas.
This is not a new situation, said Johnston. Dealing with cruisers has been an ongoing problem for years and will continue to be.
"It's like weeding your garden - it's an ongoing thing. Spanish Fork has a reputation, and we're dealing with it," he said.
"We don't mind (the cruising)," added Mayor Dale Barney. "It's the throwing (away) of the bottles and needles and the noise on First East and First West that's causing people to complain."
More officers are patrolling Main Street on weekends now, and the situation won't be ignored, he said. Police are exercising zero tolerance with the criminal element, he added.
Spanish Fork has no pro-active plans to deal with its reputation as the place to cruise, Barney said. "The real education is when they have to come into court on Monday or Tuesday and pay a fine," he said of the young adults who are cited.
"Kids are going to be kids, and we don't want to be too hard on them, except for the criminal element."