What Does Shoes on a Powerline Mean. Growing up in the city, I always found it fascinating when I would see what looked like just an ordinary pair of shoes hanging on power lines. People typically wonder how they got there and where they came from—I know that I’ve been wondering this since my early days living in a big city.
For example, while walking through Chicago one day I noticed something rather peculiar – clothes sitting atop telephone and electric wires. And those weren’t your average clothes either: things ranged from gym shoes to cowboy boots- all different sizes and styles! Since then, nobody has been able to answer my question for me… until now!
Do people hang their shoes on power lines for any reason?
Shoes hanging from power lines is a regular occurrence in major cities, however, the specific reasoning for this has been hard to pinpoint. With all my research on this subject, I found lots of evidence supporting different theories. These hypotheses were tested through interviews with sociologists, community leaders, and suspected gang members.
Drugs And Gang Territory
Shoes dangling over power lines might mean one of two things – either there’s a crack house nearby, or gangs are marking their territory. One instance of this is when someone throws their shoe up on top of a phone line post – it means they own this part of town and other gangs need to keep out.
It could also indicate that the person who threw them up there was looking for drugs at that particular place. With how prevalent these symbols became in L.A., James Hahn even made an announcement saying they were prohibited and asked people to report anyone violating this rule.
Disasters related to shoes have hit Chicago on more than one occasion. Residents complain year after year about sneakers now draped across power lines – which reached such a high point that the city received thousands of calls for them in 2008 alone.
Yet, mysteriously, the number gradually dropped until there were only about one hundred reports this past year. No one can say for sure what caused this decrease, but most agree it was likely due to some personal change or improvement to living conditions among those who could have been responsible for these incidents in the first place.
There are multiple theories as to why shoes end up on power lines, but none of them seem plausible. One is that one’s shoes get thrown over a wire after losing a bet. My own friend once lost such a wager and watched his friends take off with his favorite pair of kicks before tossing them back onto the wire for him to watch in despair.
Another possibility for this scenario is that kids will often throw their friends’ sneakers over power lines just for the heck of it-and sometimes, those kicking kicks just happen to make it up there anyways! It only makes sense really-kids can be so darn unpredictable – and you know how silly they can be when they find something captivating themselves.
Crew or gang territory
This idea brings to light the origins of gang activity and violence. Several inmates in prisons have said that they had thrown shoes up power lines back in the day – this was how they communicated with other gangs or crews. In Kansas City, you could tell who ruled a territory just by which pair of shoes lined the sides of an alleyway. The shoes let people know who ran it – and those who didn’t listen found themselves paying dearly for their ignorance.
The memory of victims of gun violence
This theory is very prevalent. Many believe that the shoes represent those who have lost their lives due to gun violence, no matter if they were gang members or just someone living in the area. They hang there in effigy of those they love and will never forget.
Mystery of the past
Shoes hanging on power lines are becoming less common these days. Reportedly, there are significantly fewer requests to remove them than before. Technicians who maintain power lines in Chicago alleys have also reported that they find fewer shoes hung up on North Side wires than on South Side ones – something which is reminiscent of East Coast reports. However, if you happen to notice any such dangling footwear in your neighborhood, then it would be safe to say you’re living back during the time when this was a trend all those years ago.
A lot of people try to explain why you see shoes dangling from power lines across the country. I prefer to think it’s a coming-of-age story of youth. You know, every region has its quirk, and maybe there was some mix-up between violence and gangs or drugs going on at one point–but for whatever reason, those shoes stay up and keep us guessing how long they’ll remain that way. My best guess is that in a few years we won’t see these things anymore…