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Anonymous hotline helps investigators catch illegal dumpers

Posted at 5:01 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 18:17:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People throwing their trash where it doesn't belong is a problem that keeps piling up around Kansas City, Missouri.

The area of 29th Street and Poplar Avenue has become a popular dump site.

"This is a fantastic spot, because there's one way in, one way out," KCMO Illegal Dumping Investigator Alan Ashurst said.

Surveillance photos caught a couple dumping garbage at the location on four separate occasions, so Ashurst asked the public for help identifying them last week. The community responded.

"There wasn't much to this tip," Ashurst said. "It was just a license plate that said, 'Here's your blue SUV and a plate number.'"

The city initiated an illegal dumping hotline in July 2018 and Ashurst said the anonymous tip line has worked and made his job a little easier.

"People are getting frustrated," Ashurst said. "We brought this 816-513-DUMP (3867) hotline out, because we wanted people to be able to feel comfortable reporting dumping."

Even with the tips and surveillance cameras at many popular dump sites, Ashurst said he's still only catching around 20% of violators.

"Plates don't match vehicles; plates haven't been registered in two years, five years; (vehicles) don't have plates," Ashurst said.

Individuals caught illegally dumping garbage can face a hefty fine.

"Pretty much anybody going into housing court for illegal dumping these days is getting a $1,000 fine," said Ashurst, who hopes people will place trash at the curb for pickup where it belongs.

Repeat offenders could end up with community service or even jail time on top of a fine.