BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Illegal dumping in Bakersfield is a continual problem in several neighborhoods. Officials are asking for the community’s help to crack down on the dumping.
Natalie Tinoco has lived in her Southeast neighborhood her entire life.
Tinoco says at one point she used to play in the lot just a few feet away from her home.
"I have seen dead dogs, broken toys and human feces there," Tinoco said.
Now she finds everything, in the lot, from furniture, clothes, and trash.
"I don’t know about other people, but for me it makes the neighborhood look bad by just how dirty it is," said Tinoco.
Neighbors tell 23ABC that officials have come to clean the area, but within a few days, new items appear.
Bill Owens, a supervisor for Code Enforcement, says it needs more of the community’s help to put an end to illegal dumping.
"The public has the option to take photos with the [Bakersfield] app, which helps the officers who are assigned to investigate," Owens said. "It also captures GPS locations and you can stay anonymous on the app as well."
23ABC also reached out to Council Member Willie Rivera of Ward 1, regarding the illegal dumping in his district.
In part, he says in a statement, "illegal dumping in Southeast Bakersfield has been a challenge. I’m in full support of expanding clean up services currently being utilized in Downtown and Old Town Kern, to help address this problem moving forward.”
The Bakersfield app is free to download in all apps stores.
First, head to your app store and type in Bakersfield App. After creating an account, an icon saying "service requests" will appear. There you will find a list of several options to file claims for, including illegal dumping.
Owens says that Code Enforcement patrols areas when staffing allows it, especially in high areas known for illegal dumping.
Code Enforcement shares the department sees a great deal of dumping in the Foothills area, Cottonwood area, and remote locations.
The department uses six non-live cameras that are planted in undisclosed areas, which they are hoping to expand.
"On occasion, we do have access to video surveillance that we will deploy," Owens said. "We are currently looking to add additional purchases of cameras through a grant process through the state of California."
Owens tells 23ABC that a complaint filed for illegal dumping can take up 45 to 60 days for removal.
Also, they are encouraging neighbors to follow up.
"The city expects the property owner to clean that property. If that fails to occur, in a timely manner, we have an administrative process that the property owner goes through," Owens said. "If it's not cleaned up, we have contractors that are hired to do that, and the property owner is invoiced for that amount."
Code Enforcement says that even if you have video or pictures of someone illegally dumping, it is considered a misdemeanor not committed in your presence.
This means the homeowner is still responsible for removing the items from their property.