RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Illegal tire dumping in one Richmond neighborhood has stopped, and neighbors credit 12 On Your Side for putting a spotlight on their problem.
Today we revisited a problem spot off Midlothian Turnpike and checked in with a neighbor, who says it's six months and counting, and this area remains clear and clean.
It took vigilance. Neighbors got angry, and then they started working with each other and the police to send a message that dumping tires and other debris would not be tolerated in their backyards.
The change from six months ago is significant and the impact long-lasting. Joseph McGhee, one of several vocal neighbors determined to protect their neighborhood, tells what they did.
"All this right here, was all covered with brush and trees. The neighbors who live back here and also across the street all came one weekend and got some power tools chainsaws and just went to work back here and cleared this whole area out," said McGhee.
Before we put a spotlight on the problem, the area was a mess and a haven for crime. Now, you have a clear unobstructed view from the street to the old dump site and the back of the church.
Residents also installed lighting and a camera.
"It was located somewhere they couldn't see it," said McGhee. "It was one of those night vision cameras. We got rid of all the trees, all the brush and all the weeds and everything. I can see clear from my house. As soon as the sun sets, I can see what's going on back here, whose coming and going."
It wasn't easy. Last October, we prompted the city to remove 450 tires from this spot. Neighbors were wowed and appreciative, but a couple weeks later, the illegal dumping returned - this time, the criminals were vengeful: dumping tires, old furniture and car parts.
Neighbors and police became partners.
"I take it personally that someone is victimizing them," said Lt. Faith Flippo with the Richmond Police Department.
In this one problem area, we went through two rounds of cleaning up and getting the area attention.
"Whoever was doing it, they probably saw what was going on," said McGhee. "They know after the second time, they probably would get caught. So far, so good."
These residents know keeping the area clean requires constant watch, and they're ready. If you have a problem with dumping in your neighborhood, call your local police precinct or council representative.
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