Crackdown on Illegal Dumpers

The city of Houston joins with Crime Stoppers to clean up an eyesore. They're launching a new campaign to stop illegal dumping. Pat Hernandez has the story.
image of Officer Jack Hanagriff Too many times, certain areas of the city and county are used as illegal dumping grounds. It is an act that costs taxpayers an estimated 5-million dollars a year. Officer Jack Hanagriff works with the Houston Police Department's Neighborhood Protection Division. He says you have people who drive from one neighborhood into another with trash...and others who just dump in their own neighborhood.

"Then we have dumpers that are what we call contractors. You hire them to haul off your trash, and then they haul it around the corner, and dump it in your own neighborhood, and you paid this person to haul your trash off, and then you paid an extra fee for proper disposal — and that's what they did."

image of Katherine CabanissKatherine Cabaniss : "If you don't report it, you support it."

Katherine Cabaniss is executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston. Before the method for reporting this crime has been to call 311.

"This is a new initiative, a first time use of Crime Stoppers to try to encourage the public to help us catch these felons. Help us reduce this crime. Help us have an impact. It's not just an eyesore in our community. It's not just a nuisance, it costs the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up this mess, and it costs our community because it is crime."

image of Mayor Bill WhiteMayor Bill White says he helped to catch some in the act.

"I raced to go apprehend them. I asked them a few questions. They got a little testy, but I was pretty testy, myself, and one of them tried to get away. They both turned out to have warrants out for them. One on probation, another on warrants. They had been hired by a commercial construction company just to dump materials in there. I ordered them first of all, to pick them up, and then we arrested them."

Crime Stoppers will be highlighting an illegal dumping case each day this week and is asking for the public's help in identifying the illegal dumpers. The first case is located in CM Wanda Adams' district.

"We know that some of our residents. They will go across the street and dump in the median, or they will go and dump on a private property. So we will let them know, you are just as wrong as that trash hauler."

Hernandez: "Councilmember, having Crime Stoppers, the fact that there's a reward in it, it might even motivate people."

Adams: "It will motivate people based on these economic times, but we want them not just to do it because of money. But we want them to do it because it's taking the pride back into our communities, and that's just one thing that we need to really focus on."

More information on reporting illegal dumping can be found at http://www.crime-stoppers.org/.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF...Houston Public Radio News.


image of men caught on a surveillance camera

The men were caught on a surveillance camera in the 4100 block of Alvin emptying the back of their pickup truck into a vacant lot. It appears the two were dumping some type of yard waste into the vacant lot. The men can be described as black males driving a dark colored late model Dodge Ram pick up truck.
Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...