Saggy pants ban is a money maker for Georgia town
Saggy pants -- the kind that show off more underwear that many care to see -- were causing such an eyesore in a small town in southwestern Georgia that they were banned. Violators faced a $25 fine for a first saggy pants offense, more for a second.
Now, nearly a year after the ban was put into effect, Albany, Ga., reports that it is turning into a tidy little money maker: The city is on track to collect more than $5,500 under it by year's end.
The ban applies to anyone, male or female, wearing extremely low-hanging clothing, which is defined as more than "three inches below the top of the hips," showing off skin or unmentionables in public.
Supporters of the law say low-riding pants are disrespectful and offensive, especially when small children can find themselves staring directly at barely covered buttocks.
Since the prohibition became law Nov. 23, there have been at least 187 citations issued by law enforcement officers in Albany, the ninth-biggest city in Georgia with a population of 77,000. The citations have raked in about $4,000 and are expected to pull in about $1,500 more before the end of the year, according to the Albany Herald.
Although first-time offenders get off relatively easy, with a $25 fine, the penalty can skyrocket to $200 with a second offense. Offenders can be sentenced to community service if they cannot afford to pay up.
Critics of the law say government has no business regulating a harmless fashion trend. They also have called the ban racist, saying it tends to target African Americans. The measure's proponents say it is not racist because it applies to everyone regardless of race.
Other communities also have prohibited saggy pants, including Dublin, Ga., and cities in Florida, Illinois and Michigan.
-- Rene Lynch
Photo: A teenager adjusts his pants. Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune