Ok, I love ICANHASCHEEZBURGER and am swiping their idea for my title. But, all cuteness aside, I became my block’s litter committee when I moved into my hood. I’m not talking litters of feral kitties, either. I am the grand picker-upper of everything from crack pipes, dirty diapers, condoms (used), an illicitly-used warped spoon, and then the usual items such as 40s, 40s, and more 40s. Did I mention I’ve picked up a lot of 40s?
I started picking up my block approximately once a week (and twice during last summer), but magically, something changed. I haven’t picked up litter yet this summer. The once standing piles of trash are diminishing without my handy trash grabber thingymajigger. Here’s a rundown of my theories as to the magically disappearing trash piles (#6 is a service that every city should provide):
1. I asked the “trouble” house on my block in the most sugary way to help me out last year by keeping their area clean. I asked VERY nicely. Their yard/sidewalk/gutter area has been spotless since.
2. A tattoo parlor moved into the corner spot that was previously vacant at the far end of my block. I met the new owners (on one of my trash picking missions), and let them know I was glad to see their business there. Since they moved in, their entire area has been free of litter.
3. On the opposite side of the street from the tattoo parlor is a building owned by the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The vacant building always had trashed piled next to it. I don’t know whether to credit their clean strip of land to the city or to the tattoo guys. (See #6 below)
4. Old man Winston and Mr. Taylor, who live across the street from me, empty a wire trash basket they keep on their corner. They pick up our entire four-way corner daily, and Mr. Taylor even sweeps part of the street periodically.
5. People on our street have started to clean up their act. I notice that a once trouble causing neighbor on the next block started picking up litter on his block. I believe his iniative was due to some police visits at his house (for other reasons), and he wanted to make good on the street.
6. Our policing sector (412) somewhat recently hired a police officer solely dedicated to environmental issues – items such as dumped cars (many stolen) on the street, graffiti tags, big trash piles, etc. It used to be that we (the citizens) placed a complaint to the city, and they wouldn’t do anything about the issue. But, now, we call Officer Picard, and he has items cleaned within three days! He even goes knocking on doors of offending houses and lets them know that complaints have been made concerning the trash they leave in the street. Unless he catches them firsthand, he cannot write them tickets, but the biggest offender on my street hasn’t been dumping her trash since he visited her door. *update: found out she has been out of the rental house for a few months now, hence she is not the biggest offender anymore.