Fresno, Calif. - Garbage is popping up along highways, roads, and neighborhoods throughout Fresno as the number of illegal dumping cases continue to grow. It's a problem Fresno city leaders have been trying to solve for years and city crews say the amount of garbage being dumped on city streets is only getting worse. City leaders hope they are now closer to a solution.
It used to be hundreds, but now Fresno City crews are getting thousands of calls about illegal dumping every year.
Illegal Dumping Calls for Service
Fiscal Year 2016 - 1,998 calls for service
Fiscal Year 2017 - 2,047 calls for service (first 8 months only)
As the garbage piles up, city leaders know something has to change.
In the middle of the day on a Fresno neighborhood street code enforcement points out two men calmly dumping mattresses and some construction materials illegally. This all unfolds with people walking and driving by before the two men drive off.
Jerry Schuber Assistant Director of Public Utilities says this happens all the time.
"As most people would think it would just be in a general area. It's not. It's a systemic problem. It's all over the city," said Schuber.
From year to year the numbers are going up and a heat map from the city shows illegal dumping cases are being reported citywide. We went to see for ourselves.
It only took us a few minutes to spot the problem that's plaguing neighborhoods across Fresno. We found everything from electronics, children's toys and plenty of tires. The problem is there isn't an easy solution.
"The people that do this, there's no question in my mind they are repeat offenders and they know the right locations to go where they won't be caught," said Fresno City Council President Clint Olivier.
Illegal dumping will cost you $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for the second. Olivier says it's time to do more.
"My constituents and neighbors are desperate and so I'm willing to take a look at a fresh approach and a new idea," said Olivier.
City leaders approved a feasibility study to look into building a convenience site for dumping in Fresno. The goal is to change the culture.
"Illegal dumping is going to continue until we change the mindset of people," said Schuber.