IPD cracking down on trash pickers: Patrols increased, people can be cited into court

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2019

One constant complaint by Ironton residents on Facebook is about people going through their trash and leaving a mess behind.

Ironton Police Chief Pam Wagner says that is “a huge issue” but that complaining on social media doesn’t help police catch people in the act.

“People keep posting things on Facebook, but no one has called the police to make a complaint,” she said, adding that they don’t monitor the site for posts. “They need to call our dispatch so we can send officers. If they put it on Facebook, it could be two or three days before we even know about it.”

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Wagner said it is an issue and officers try to watch the alleys when they are on patrol.

“Having trash on the ground is detrimental. The people will tear open the trash bags and then just leave it all on the ground. It’s just chaos in the alleyways,” she said, adding that once the trash is on the ground, cats, dogs and vermin will get into it and spread the trash around more.

“Most people do the right thing and have a trash can with a lid, so animals won’t get into it,” Wagner said. “But when people on bicycles go through the alleyways and get in the trash and then leave it on the ground, we have animals going through it as well and scattering it.”

Wagner said the police department is on board with the city’s “Team Up to Clean Up” program and will be watching for people getting in the trash. Because if they leave the trash on the ground, they are littering.

“We have stepped up patrols. We have been working with the prosecutor’s office and the judge,” she said. “If we find anyone littering, they will be cited into court and they will be dealt with by the court system.”

Wagner said she doesn’t know exactly what people are digging through the trash for.

“I’m assuming anything of value, like cans. Maybe people’s personal information, that’s a big thing,” she said.

She warned that if you throw out any papers with personal information, make sure to shred it to prevent identity theft.

“We have had people over the years, it hasn’t happened often, but, years ago, we had a guy who would go through the trash and get people’s addresses and then use it,” Wagner said. “Personal information should be guarded, no matter what.”