Is Anyone Afflicted With Illegal Dumping?


In the five and a half years I’ve lived in my house I’ve probably had over 50 illegal dumpings in the alley behind my house. I have to give credit to the city who has been very good about cleaning it up but this is super aggravating. I often dream about catching the people in the act. I should really set up a video camera, yeah? But I’m wondering is it just my alley or do other folks experience this nuisance?

21 Comment

  • I have 2 couches sitting behind my garage in the alley right now! And they are not mine! ARRGGH!

  • I once put two cat urine soaked leather chairs out front for DC bulk pick-up and someone grabbed them before DC got them. About two weeks later they showed up again leaning against my fence to the back alley.

    I was …p*ssed to say the least…

  • Sorry PoP, but most people always took stuff from the alley as opposed to leaving stuff. I love the hidden camera idea. It would be a hoot to see what kind of shenanigans go on in your alley!

  • saf

    We have problems with it – up to and including stolen cars.

    The bigger problem we have is that because we back up to the d^%n Safeway lot, we can’t get the city to come take the stuff away, and Safeway is simply non-responsive – they don’t care what gets dumped back there. It’s truly revolting what that alley can get to looking like. Safeway sucks rocks.

  • If anyone needs a new dresser, there’s a decent-looking one in the alley behind my house right now (off 18th, between Kilbourne and Lamont). Of course, they set it out just in time to get rained on…

  • @ Herb: Pissed, I get it! Cat urine! Ha ha ha ha…..ok not really that funny.

  • It is a problem – but it’s not really a huge on IMHO, and there’s a silver lining. While people do dump crap sometimes, the city does usually pick it up. But as I always say- “the alley giveth and the alley taketh away.” I furnished my first group house almost entirely from “alley picks.” And if I ever have something that’s not junk, I will usually put it in the alley for others to claim. Anything decent is almost always gone in a few days at most.

    Anyway, the video camera thing seems over the top, and also not very likely to get you any satisfaction. How would you identify whoever you caught on tape? If it was a neighbor, then you could call them out on it, but it’s probably fairly obvious in the first place if a neighbor put stuff out… since it’s probably at the end of their back yard. If it wasn’t, then you’d really have no way to figure out who did it. And what would you do even if you could.

    At the end of the day, whenever REAL trash has been dumped behind my house, if the city doesn’t just collect it with the regular garbage, you can call in for a bulk pickup easily enough. I’ve never been unduly burdened by this.

  • We have the problem all the time with construction/renovation debris. I even caught the guy doing it once and followed him back up the street to the row house he has been “renovating” for the past two years but it still happens. I would loooove to catch it on video though and all the other crap that goes on in our alley that urks me (i.e. tagging, used condoms, urination, #2, etc). Anyone have any cheap surveillance camera options?

  • It’s frustrating. I’ve called in illegal dumpings with city services, and they come out and investigate but leave the dump things. Then I have to make a separate service call to ask them to pick it up. Annoying. And it’s pretty damn easy to figure it out. The house? The one that’s being gutted? The one with the stove and sofas spilling out of their backyard and into the alley and down the street? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s the culprit. I mean, just follow the trail of trash to the door. I wish they’d do more fines and enforcement to discourage this behavior. Ugh.

  • G-man, the cheapest option is a sign that says: “24 hour camera surveillance” at the mouths of the alley.

  • I saw a great art project at Peregrin on the Hill that someone could replicate with that door. The door was cut into equal squares and painted white with two other colors for detail (depending on how the door was cut) and they were all hung them horizontally in a row.

  • Dumping is less of an issue than is folx going through the stuff placed outside for bulk pickup and making a hellof a mess. 🙁 Even when you set it out just a couple of hours before the pickup ‘window’ someone always manages to trash the trash.

  • If you have wirless, I think you can get an outdoor webcam. Just have to put it in a spot where IT won’t get swiped. On the alley givithI have sweet weber kettle grill someone dumped becuase it had a brokey leg. Weber sells replacements for cheep. MMMM charred flesh!

  • We’ve had some dumping, but, as others have said, the city response is usually good. There is a vacant house that has been a problem consistently. We had organized block-by-block and did walk throughs of the alleys with the Mayor and with the head of DCRA, so were able to get the lot cleaned out. Once it was cleaned up, some neighbors put together a makeshift fence that seems to help.

    For a while, during the renovation boom, I recall several mentions on the Bloomingdale listserv of contractors appropriating Supercans, but I haven’t noticed as much of a problem lately.

  • Someone dumped a queen-sized boxspring in my alley a few weeks ago. It was lying flat, blocking the alley (for me, anyway, ’cause I didn’t want to risk a flat tire from driving over nails and splinters). The cop cars that cut through my alley all the time had no problem with it, though. They drove right over it. It stayed there for almost two weeks. (Implied gripe: why didn’t the cops call it in?)

  • i watched two red neck white guys in a truck dump an entire cut down tree in the alley… not before they went into someones yard and grabbed a pink tricycle and stole it. charming.

  • Slightly less annoying but still gets my blood boiling: folks who dump their household trash in/around my supercans. Or just steal them.

  • i once found a bathtub in my YARD! considering the fence was locked and undamaged, that meant someone had to hoist the tub up six feet in the air to get in in there. why they did that? i have no idea. this city makes me chake my head sometimes

  • I once called in some illegal dumping in my alley, and not only did the city not clean it up, they fined me $150 for it, and I had to take a morning off work to fight it in court. The judge didn’t even have to dismiss it, the Dept. of Public Works representative, was like, “What the fuck, why are we fining you when you called it in?” I know this is how dear old Barry ran things, but I thought Fenty would be so much better…

  • The vacant house on the corner of Shepherd and New Hampshire is now becoming a hotspot for illegal dumping and should qualify as a nuisance property.

  • I don’t think the video camera idea is over the top at all. Just make sure it is a visible dome camera so that it might actually have some deterrent effect.

    If I lived in the city I would purchase a CCTV system with maybe 4 cameras to keep an eye on my stuff. Said systems go for around $1500-2000 including recorder, which is a trifle for a little piece of mind. At least if anyone were to break into your place, you would have their face on film.

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