Illegal dumplings are a headache and will extremely devalue your property and it needs a huge bill to have the area cleaned up.
How can you stop or even prevent illegal dumping on your property? How to catch people who dump waste illegally?
In this guide, we will talk about methods on how you can stop people from littering and dumping on your property, and how to catch the perpetrators.
Methods to stop illegal dumping on your property?
1. Talk to the perpetrator directly (if you have identified them)
Illegal dumping can be even if your neighbor (or someone else) dumps trash, waste, or old furniture in front of your house or by your alley. If you notice people dumping, or if you have identified them previously, then you should confront them directly.
While having trash on your property is frustrating, we’d suggest talking with them nicely and in a friendly way. Pretend they have the wrong house, or they’re confused, try to avoid any possible physical conflict.
Just let them know that it is not allowed to dump trash in front of your property and ask to remove them. Casually, you may drop that you may call the police, or let’s get this solved without having the cops or the town involved. Most likely they’ll understand and the trash will be removed.
2. Get the police involved
If there’s no other option, just call the police and let them investigate the issue. If you catch someone illegally dumping trash on your property, then call the police right away.
You may also take quick pictures of the violations, the perpetrators, and their vehicles (focus on the license plates). You can use this evidence if they run away before the police forces arrive.
The police will investigate the crime and will fine the violator, or make them recollect the trash. In some cases, they may book him in the county jail. Illegally dumping on other people’s property is a crime and is punished by the law.
Additionally, you may call 311 which connects you to your city/town/village, and report the violation to the local authorities. Dumping trash illegally is considered a health hazard and it can contaminate the environment.
3. Post “No Illegal Dumping” signs
Sometimes “No Dumping Trash” signs can be helpful since the possible violators will be aware that someone is actively managing the property.
Maybe they’ll change their mind, or move to another area. Even though the signs can stop the violators to some degree only, it’s still recommended to post them at visible spots across your property.
You can go on Amazon and find “no dumping allowed” signs in various sizes and colors. Make sure to get large sizes since they are visible at a great distance. You can even post fake “the property is monitored with security cameras” which can be a good deterrent.
4. Install security cameras to prevent illegal dumping
If you’re serious about preventing or catching the violators in the act of dumping trash, then the answer is installing security camera systems (especially if you need evidence for the police). You can check our recommendations for security camera systems here.
Having a surveillance camera system monitoring your property or house helps in two main aspects:
- Serves as a deterrent
- Collects evidence
First of all, the cameras serve as a deterrent factor. The violators who come to your property to dump trash will notice the cameras and think twice before acting. They don’t want to get caught, they don’t want to be filmed while committing a violation, so they will skip your property and go somewhere else.
Second, cameras collect video evidence which will help the police when prosecuting the violators. The cameras nowadays are pretty powerful and you can get clear images day and night.
Depending on the camera models, you may get close-up videos, color at day, and black and white at night (with good contrast). It’s possible to identify faces even when it’s dark.
The systems such as these shown here can record based on motion detection. When there’s motion in front of the camera, the software records and stores the footage on the hard drive for later viewing.
Depending on the hard drive(s) size and the motion levels, you may record for up to a few months. If you confront someone, they may deny it but you’ll get the upper hand when you show the police the videos of the violator caught red-handed.
Moreover, the video evidence will help the police catch the perpetrator faster and fine them for trespassing and dumping on private property.
Another convenient feature is that you can live view the cameras anytime remotely using your phone. The phone app provides notifications and personalized alerts if motion is detected under your cameras.
If someone is throwing trash, you’ll get a live alert which may give you time to go to the property and confront the violator.
5. Fence your property
If illegal dumping is a huge problem on your property, you can physically block any violator by building a fence around the perimeter. Or you can block certain paths so they can’t drive their car there.
Keep in mind that building a fence depends on your local regulations which include the type, the height, and sometimes colors, and in some cases, it’s not even allowed.
Before contracting a company, check with your local authorities and get a permit (if building a fence is actually allowed).
Additionally, you may add floodlights or just regular lights around the corners and hidden parts of your property. The light will not just make the property less attractive for violators, but it will also help the security cameras capture better images (especially during the nighttime, when most of the crime happens).
6. Contact local environmental agencies
Another thing that may help you deal with illegal dumping is contacting environmental protection agencies of your local government.
Dumping trash and other materials in unapproved spots are not just illegal but it may poison the waterway, and the solid and cause health issues for the residents.
Almost all local governments have environmental agencies designed to deal with environmental issues. If someone repeatedly dumps trash (especially building materials on your property, then it’s recommended not to touch anything but instead seek help from your local government.
They’ll deploy environmental inspectors who will evaluate the situation and propose solutions.
Other questions regarding illegal dumping issues
What is the legal definition of illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping is the disposal of trash generated at one location and disposed of at another location without legal permission. This includes dumping yard waste, appliances, tires, and other garbage in alleys, dumpsters, vacant lots, and open desert locations.
It is also referred to as “open dumping,” “fly dumping,” and “midnight dumping,” because materials are often dumped in open areas, from vehicles along roadsides, and late at night.
Illegally dumped wastes are primarily non-hazardous materials that are dumped to avoid either disposal fees or the time and effort required for proper disposal.
Apart from littering another person’s property, illegal dumping can:
- Poison the soil and the waterways, destroy the fauna
- Bring health issues to residents and animals
- Provided breeding grounds for pests
Another thing to understand, legally littering and dumping are two different things. Littering involves throwing away small amounts of household trash (plastic bottles, wrappers, garbage bags, etc) and the penalty is usually small (a few hundred dollars).
On the other hand, dumping is considered as disposing of a large volume of wastes such as construction debris, whole furniture, electronic waste, mattresses, etc.
What is the penalty for illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the state and on a number of other factors, such as:
- the amount of waste
- the type of waste, and whether it is hazardous
- whether the dumping is committed by an individual or a business, and
- whether the defendant has committed prior offenses.
The penalty varies from $1,000 up to 25,000. If it’s a repeated offense, the violator may end up doing prison time.
How to report illegal dumping?
There are two quick ways how you can report illegal dumping on your property:
- Call the police.
- Call 311 (if you’re in the US) and report it to the local authorities
Make sure to provide details such as the type of waste, the time frame, and any photographs or video evidence.