RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is battling illegal dumping, but it seems the offenders are winning at the moment.
Police could use your help catching people who are dumping used tires in different neighborhoods around the city. Cameras have been used in different locations, but the tire piles just keep growing.
Richmond Police would like to see fines, jail time and laws that hold tire businesses accountable for what happens to their waste after they leave the shop.
12 On Your Side discovered a half-dozen tire piles in South Richmond alone.
"You feel violated when someone dumps this behind your house," remarked Richmonder Ali Abri, who called 12 On Your Side for help.
The tire piles are not only an eyesore, but are a breeding source for bugs.
"You wouldn't believe the millions of mosquitoes. I had to run inside," Abri said.
Add to the mix vacant property and these piles of waste tires draw criminal activity and undesireables just feet away from people's homes and places of worship.
"They say there's people out here having sex," Robin Irby said. "I mean, there's a church."
What's frustrating, no matter how vigilant they are as residents, their City Council representative and police don't seem to be able to stop the illegal tire dumping.
"We can suspect that it's coming from a business that's trying to get rid of a large amount of tires," said Lt. Faith Flippo with Richmond Police Department.
Tire shops and auto repair businesses typically charge customers a $4 disposal fee for each tire. Those businesses are then supposed to dump the tires at the city landfill, which allows four tires to be dumped for free, then it's $1 per tire after that.
Neighbors believe some shops are paying individuals to dump their tires and pocketing a portion of the customer fee.
"If you see a truck with a bunch of tires on the back of it and they're riding through the neighborhood, they're not coming to visit a friend," Lt. Flippo said. "They're coming to dump them somewhere. I challenge everyone to write down tags. Get a good description of the driver."
Since 12 On Your Side's first visit to a South Richmond tire pile, there are two new things: Furniture and the city posted two notices of violation.
The city is ordering the owner to clean up the mess and, if it doesn't, the city will clean it up and send them the bill.
"This is not fair," Abri said. "I really want to hear from the city or state. What are the sanctions they can take against these tire places?"
You have to catch them first and, right now, no one has been caught red-handed.
12 On Your Side has been told special enforcement tools will soon be used to catch the perpetrators. We will stay on top of this and let you know when something happens.
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