Out of towners caught on camera dumping in St. Louis alleys

ST. LOUIS – Cameras are catching illegal dumpers all around St. Louis. The cameras are solar powered, triggered by motion, and catching people who use inner-city alleys as their personal trash can.

“It happens all the time,” said city resident Anita Brown.

Brown said she’s tried catching people dumping but to no avail.

“I don't ever see nobody. I’ve looked, but you see trucks go pass, you peep, you watch, but they see you and they don’t do nothing,” she said.

Until no one’s looking; then the trash piles up. She’s convinced the dumpers aren’t from around here.

“They come to this area and dump,” Brown said. “It’s not the neighbors.”

And she’s right. Court records show 83 percent of those convicted of illegal dumping this year are from out of town.

Like a guy from Bonne Terre – caught dumping twice. A motion camera caught him in the act on March 15. Four days later, he returned driving his employer’s marked construction vehicle.

Sgt. Joseph Calabro, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, said he believes the city’s new approach could change that.

“The word is getting out that the City of St. Louis is not the place to dump,” he said.

Calabro commands the Nuisance Problem Behavior unit, which includes the new Trash Task Force. He said officers have issued more than 100 summons this year.

“We’ve only had one repeat offender out of all the persons that have been issued summonses so far,” he said. “That speaks volumes.”

Illegal dumpers convicted in city court are paying a $500 fine and working 40 hours community service by picking up trash.

You can report illegal dumping by calling the Citizens’ Service Bureau at 314-622-4800 or via Twitter @stlcsb. You can also email csb@stlouis-mo.gov