From the Forum – What to do when you see a (clearly non-homeless) guy peeing in public?

no pissing

What to do when you see a (clearly non-homeless) guy peeing in public?

“Yeah, I can hear the jokes already. But seriously, I was walking home this afternoon from the Shaw metro and saw a drunk frat boy peeing on Cleveland Elementary. I’ve come to terms with seeing homeless men pee in the alley behind my house (and, when irritated, will open the kitchen window and yell at them, which is a reasonably effective deterrent) but seeing a guy peeing on a school on a Sunday afternoon – especially since he clearly has a home, friends, and likely a job which would give him access to a legit bathroom – seems a little above and beyond. I yelled at him and took his picture as he slunk away (attached) but beyond that, I’m not sure what to do. First, it seems like it might not always be the safest thing to do to yell at drunk guys peeing while I’m on the street a couple feet away … but I can’t think of good alternatives beyond just walking away and ignoring it, which is clearly what the a**hole expected me to do. Am I right to think that forwarding this guy’s picture to the police is likely to be fruitless?

Thanks for any advice.”

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90 Comment

  • Bathrooms can be harder to find than you think. Sometimes, you got to go, and bad. He ain’t harming anybody—just carry on.

    • tend to agree… although I’ll yell at people (sometimes) when they are peeing in our alley. being called out on it when you have you dick out typically makes people move along quickly. ALSO>… this is not a male specific problem. I’ve seen girls hike up their skirts and unload on a wall.

    • I agree (though I’m jealous of men because they can do it a lot more covertly than us!). Would it have been better if he weren’t drunk?

      • The whole “sometimes, you got to go” line is ridiculous. Do you think women don’t sometimes just “have to go?” We can manage to hold it in ’til we find a bathroom, why can’t dudes? And he’s harming public property. I wouldn’t want my kid’s elementary school smelling like drunk frat boy urine. Once the summer sun hits that puddle it’s putrid.

        • How is that worse than dog or cat pee?

          • Um, because dogs and cats aren’t grown-up human beings who have (in theory) the power of reason? Not to mention dedicated bathrooms?

          • I guess I should clarify that I was responding to this part of the comment:
            “And he’s harming public property. I wouldn’t want my kid’s elementary school smelling like drunk frat boy urine. Once the summer sun hits that puddle it’s putrid.”
            Does drunk frat boy urine smell any worse than dog or cat pee?

          • Stupid comment when you have to explain yourself.

          • Not necessarily. Anon made an assumption that I was asking why dog or cat pee was better on moral grounds. The comment I was responding to was talking specifically about the smell but he/she didn’t make that connection so I had to explain it.

          • +1. Pee is pee. When you got to go, you got to go. Just make sure you willing to do the time if you commit the crime.

          • Human urine is a lot worse. Maybe because it ends up higher on walls, maybe because there’s a lot more of it. But I have never smelled dog or cat pee that smelled as bad as day old human urine on a hot day.

        • +1 on “The whole ‘sometimes, you got to go’ line is ridiculous. Do you think women don’t sometimes just ‘have to go?’ We can manage to hold it in ’til we find a bathroom, why can’t dudes?”

          • I was in my garage with my sister with its door open to a very “busy” alley. A young man was grabbing at his pants as we heard him say (on his phone) “Gotta pee” Gotta pee!” My sister piped right up and loudly said “Not HERE Lewis!” He was a student of hers! He said,”Ms. S______., you everywhere!” but he didn’t pee (at least not right there.

        • Would you still object if it was a drunk fratboy puppy?

        • Why would you be at an elementary school in the summer (other than to pee)?

  • Sounds like your life is incredibly difficult. I wonder how you find ways to cope, given the plethora of social ills all around.

  • I’d say that most guys have done this at some point. Maybe not on an elementary school on a Sunday afternoon, but still. Sometimes you just have to go…

    • Hell, even my girlfriend will pop a squat between two cars on the street if she’s desperate!
      (she’s got a tiny bladder and public bathrooms can sometimes be difficult to find)

      • Your girlfriend is awesome! I’ve done it when wearing a skirt, but not in the city. Just not brave enough. 🙂

        • Yeah, she’s pretty much an expert at it. She will support herself by holding the back bumper of one car and the front bumper of the other car. She can do it a skirt, dress, jeans, shorts, heels, etc. It all runs down into the gutter anyway (which is filled with dog piss).

          She also owns the Go Girl pee funnels, which she uses at outdoor concerts or while camping. She’s pretty much QUEEN of the OUTDOOR PEE.

    • If “Horrible Bosses” is to be believed, peeing on a school is asking to be labeled a sex offender.

  • Depends on the situation and what I have at my disposal.

    When they are in my alley and close enough to the house, I hit them with the hose.

    When walking by them on the street or otherwise in public, I’ve pushed them over so they end up on the ground covered in their own urine, or if they are farther away I pull out the phone and start taking photos with the flash turned on, which either pisses them off (which is hilarious) or sends them slinking away (which is hilarious).

    I don’t have patience for crap like that. Being drunk isn’t an excuse for reverting back to a 2 year old in public especially when there are so many public/semipublic bathrooms available. If someone wants to act like a punk, then they get treated like one.

  • depending on the state, getting caught peeing on an elementary school can get you a lifetime sex offender registration.

  • any thoughts on how to get folks to stop peeing on my garage door and back gate? I have to sweep the piss out of the garage every night and put bleach down, nasty.

  • Peeing in an alleyway when it’s the middle of the night, bars have closed and you won’t make it home is one thing. But peeing on an elementary school seems particularly obnoxious, especially in broad daylight. That’s definitely grounds for public shaming. You should have called 911 in addition to taking the picture. Getting arrested for public urination is the kind of embarassment that might make this guy think twice about peeing on a school. Yuck.

  • where’s the picture?

  • not harming anyone? I call the cops when i see people peeing in my neighborhood, frat boy, neighborhood drunk or homeless guy I don’t care. I think it is offensive and don’t want my daughter, my mother or even myself seeing anyone peeing. If you pulling your junk out any that a kid might be (in public) you should be considered a sex offender. I bet your parents are proud when they come to visit and see you peeing in the ally.

  • public shaming is the best defense. post that photo to the internet.

    • Right, then all his fratboy friends will be all “Look, brah, some douche caught you whizzing on a school! Harharharharhar!!!! Dude, that’s epic. I’m totally putting that in your rehearsal dinner slideshow.”

  • Call 911 if you feel like you have to do something. You’re not the police, but they can presumably figure out the right thing to do. That all being said, as offensive and vulgar as this behavior is, I’m sure there are bigger problems we all have to deal with as a city. I’d find something else to get worked up about.

  • I’m surprised there are so many posters on this thread saying “Ehh, no big deal.”
    I used to live in a building that was directly on the 1700 block of Columbia Road NW. Because it was mixed-use and the residential entrance was on the side, through an iron gate, it didn’t look particularly residential to someone walking on the sidewalk.
    One Saturday night I was coming home and found a fratboy type peeing in the entranceway where I would be walking in. I was livid. I yelled at him, “Do you mind?? People live here!” And then: “_I_ live here!”
    He mumbled something, put his d*** away, and slunk off.

  • To the OP, I would recommend that you do some combination of the following:
    1) Call 911 (but recognizing that by the time the police get there, the guy might’ve stopped peeing)
    2) Take a photo
    3) Yell at the guy (IF you are safely inside and IF you think he won’t retaliate in some way against your house/building).

  • Sorry, when you have to go you have to go!!! Do you prefer him to urinate on himself and then sit next to you on Public Transportation?

    • Because those are the only two options, right?
      Oh, and your statement is false. When you “have to go”, unless you suffer from a kidney, bladder, or prostate related illness, you have at least 20 minutes and as much as an hour to find an appropriate place to do so. Have you ever been forced to hold it to the point of discomfort and beyond? I have (lots of travel on small aircraft). You know what happens? The urge goes away, and recurs every half hour or so.
      Find a bathroom. Animals piss on the street. Be human.

  • I live in Bloomingdale and while walking my dog have seen a few guys peeing in public. What’s amazing is how brazen they are – a couple of them have just been standing on the passenger side of a parked vehicle, peeing on the curb in the middle of the day (one was on North Capitol St – very discreet). And when you look at them like they’re doing something wrong, they act pissed off because you’re violating their privacy. Unbelievable.

  • Making it sound like Santa Barbara or the Hamptons. Why don’t we save the 911 calls for actual emergencies or else karma will catch up to you and you’ll get a frat boy by your rowhouse.

    • I feel like someone has to point this out every week on PoPville, but:
      – D.C. used to have 911 as the emergency number and 311 as the police, etc. non-emergency number.
      – 311 was taken over as the number for city services.
      – When you need police on a non-emergency basis, you now call 911 and request “Police, non-emergency.”

  • justinbc

    Oh my heavens, not on Sunday!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Why do guys always have to pee ON a building? Why not aim for the grass/ground? Better yet, wait until an actual bathroom is available.

  • Popville sometimes really surprises me. I’m definitely surprised at the number of people defending, celebrating even, public urination. It’s gross, unsanitary, and inappropriate.
    “Sometimes you’ve just got to go.” Shockingly, I’ve made it to middle age and through many a bender without public urination. Maybe you are letting yourself off the hook to easily?
    “How’s it worse than cat or dog pee?” In terms of spreading communicable diseases, for one thing. Also, they smell different.
    “Doesn’t OP have bigger things to worry about?” That there are other things in the world to worry about doesn’t mean you can’t respond to a dude peeing on an elementary school on a Sunday afternoon.

  • I encountered a man urinating in the driveway of my son’s daycare. He was finishing as I pulled up and walked away, but I was horrified. Other than notifying the daycare staff, I wasn’t sure what to do.

  • Question: Is it better to enter a restaurant/coffee shop/bar where you have no intention of buying anything and use their bathroom? Because I don’t see a lot of free public restrooms around.

    • That’s why you need to pee at whatever bar you’re at.
      Or go to McDonald’s and buy an ice cream cone or something.

      • Peeing at the bar is great in theory, but only works if there’s 45 minutes or so between finishing your last drink and leaving (and the bathroom doesn’t have some outrageously long line).
        So the alternative is to waste food (i.e. buy something you don’t want at McDonald’s)?

        • actually…the only good thing about mcdonalds is that they let non customers use the bathroom – I think at every mcdonalds. You don’t have to buy anything. I would also recommend that you never eat anything there under any circumstances.

    • Answer: YES.

  • justinbc

    Any PoPville veteran will tell you that unless there’s a sign (less than 18 inches high) specifically telling you not to pee somewhere then it’s free game!

  • Two weeks ago, I passed a guy on I Street NW, between 16th and Vermont, peeing straight into traffic during morning rush hour. Clearly he, too, belonged to the “laws are for other people” crowd.

  • I was just wondering the same thing myself. I live on the first floor at a fairly busy intersection, and there is a particular guy–always extremely drunk, looks homeless–who pees OFTEN right outside my window. The view of him from the street is a wee (ha) bit shielded so you might not immediately know what he’s doing if you’re just walking past, but I can see the whole thing from my couch. I’ve tried yelling out my window at him, but he’s honestly so out of it that he doesn’t even really react. And he’d be done by the time I called the cops. I really can’t think of any options than just putting up with it. (I almost wrote “go with the flow” but thought better of it.)

  • A lot of people being nonchalant about small problems can snowball into a big problem. I don’t think we currently have a public urination problem in this city, but that’s all relative to where they’re urinating. I certainly would not want it to become a problem, so I call them out on it in hopes the behavior gets curbed.

    • Gad, I do. One day I had to wait behind a DC garbage truck in my alley while the driver peed on the wall. Last winter on 13th St above Park I passed a yard where a shadowy figure was peeing on someone’s tree. When I looked back over my shoulder I saw he was a DCPW vest. I love this city and I have lived here my whole adult life. But when a city employee pees in someone’s front yard, it’s a problem.

    • Curb your bro!

    • There’s no such thing as a public urination problem.

  • I’d rather have a homeless dude urinating on my block than the crazy woman who – without fail – would shit in a box in front of my East Village apartment building every evening. Seriously, worst view ever.

    NYC is such a disgusting place. Billionaires stepping over urine puddles and people making six figures living in squalor. So glad I live here now, I feel like a human once again.

  • Because he might get uromisitisis poisoning and die, that’s why.

    Which frat did he belong to? Was he rocking his lamda lamda sweater?

  • I cannot believe the amount of PEARLS THAT HAVE BEEN CLUTCHED on this thread. First of all, that debutante who suggested that human urine contains communicable diseases did NOT pass biology in college. Human urine is STERILE, it is harmless and mostly made of WATER. The body has already taken the toxins out of it by the time it comes out. DRINKING human urine is actually harmless.
    In my humble opinion, the OP strikes me as a bit odd. To me it seems more strange that a person would be up in the middle of the night, searching out of their window for anything out of the ordinary, watching a man in the distance urinate in a relatively private location, PHOTOGRAPHING a man with his pants down and then YELLING out of their window, no doubt waking up sleeping neighbors.
    Call 911?????? Are you people mad. Are you actually suggesting that we WASTE our law enforcement resources on such a petty offense? I am sorry but if this were my son pissing, I would NOT appreciate him having a sex offender title because you were BORED at 2 am taking photos of his penis. And I do not agree with the sex offender laws that allow for people who simply couldn’t hold it to be labeled as sex offenders. I was molested as a young boy by a family friend and I DO NOT appreciate people tagging that title on to just anyone. IT IS NOT FAIR and very insensitive when people are ACTUALLY being MOLESTED and RAPED.
    CALL 911???? The police will actually be PISSED OFF at you for wasting their time. Really, what can they do? By the time they arrive, the culprit would be gone and you’ll be faced with a bunch of angry cops while there are THOUSANDS of unsolved murders in our great nations capital, my coworkers son being one of those murders.
    And I’m sorry, but where are these free bathrooms that are readily available in the city? Especially late at night. I’ve gone out to bars, used the bathroom and 15 minutes later I have to go again on my walk from the bar after a few beers. Having a mother with advanced kidney disease, it is not a good idea to hold your bladder for long periods of time.
    I was REPRIMANDED by a restaurant owner not long ago for ATTEMPTING to use their bathroom and not purchase anything. You can’t just use bathrooms without purchasing items and what if the only thing close to you is a bunch of restaurants, you mean to tell me, I have to spend 30 bucks on a small plate just to urinate? McDonalds aren’t located on EVERY BLOCK. There’s bigger fish to fry than getting up in arms over this young man who clearly tried his best to be discrete.
    And to all of those suggesting you water balloon him, chase homeless men with water hoses, PUSH people into their own urine, or any other irrational immature and violent strategy, you really need a help and a prayer. All of these actions can land YOU in jail. Violence is not the answer, especially when the individual did not purposely mean to harm you or others. They are either homeless and typically UNWELCOME in many of our fine DC establishments, or they are not near a toilet. GET OVER IT!

    • YOU need to STOP with the CAPITAL LETTERS.
      And apparently you didn’t read the original post — the OP saw some guy peeing in public on a Sunday afternoon.

      • The tone is aggressive and you’re right that they didn’t pay attention to the circumstances described by the OP, but I agree with the general sentiment.

    • Wow you’ve had a really shitty life man.

  • The police won’t arrest someone for urinating in public unless the officer actually witnesses it him/herself. It’s not a probable cause misdemeanor. So, unfortunately, it’s basically pointless to call 911 or 311.

  • there is a $50 fine for peeing in public in DC. I actually had someone pee on my car and was lucky enough to have a police officer near by and I had them not only fine the guy who peed on my car, but make him wash my car.

  • We had a neighbor in an adjacent row house who was a complete and utter asshole. He would file complaints about us not pulling in our garbage cans out of the alley by 5pm (um, hello, we are work all day?), would yell at us if we were too loud when we took out the garbage, would try to blame us for the rats in the alley, would break/crack our garbage cans if the trash collectors placed the cans on his parking pad instead of our’s, etc.

    One day, I had enough of his shit. Myself and my roommate had been drinking and we pissed all over his BMW.
    Best public pee of my entire life.

    Moral of the story: Be nice to your neighbors. Don’t be an unreasonable asshole, otherwise someone will piss on you and your expensive car.

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