But the urban legend of gangs and drug dealers marking their territory with a pair of sneakers dangling from these lines is so entrenched, that drug dealers and gang bangers themselves may possibly think they need to do this to follow proper etiquette. If I was going to start selling drugs, would I want to alert every cop in the neighborhood that this was my intent by hoisting a pair of my old Nikes up in the wires?
Well, most people are divided on the issue. A website that debunks urban legends suggests its believed that tennis shoes hanging from utility lines designate "gang territory" or a location to buy street drugs. But most official police gang unit say that it does not have information suggesting that is true at all.
So maybe it means nothing. Maybe there is no gang activity or drug dealing in the area. But it does mean something. Someone, somewhere is without a pair of shoes today. : )