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City leader says illegal dumping is out of control

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Catherine Farmer has lived on Floyd Avenue in Richmond’s fan district for nearly 40 years

"It looks like we live in a slum, and it's not a slum," said Farmer.

At the start and end of every summer Farmer says her sidewalks and back alleys become lined with people's unwanted junk.

"This, this is ridiculous," Farmer said as she points to an abandoned sofa sitting on the sidewalk.

Farmer claims this year is the worst yet. She claims as renters move out, their belongings move out to the curb or the alley. Sometimes the items remain in public right of ways for weeks.

"This one has been out here over two weeks," said Farmer as she points to several old mattresses left in the alley behind her home.

It sometimes takes weeks before someone calls the city for a bulk pick up. Farmer believes it's wrong to create such a poor reflection of the neighborhood and to assume someone else is supposed to pick up after you.

"I think its people who are used to their parents taking care them," said Farmer.

City councilman Parker Agelasto recently captured video of an illegal dump near his home.

"it's out of control essentially," said Agelasto, who claims he sees similar messes all the time all across Richmond.

He was so  appalled by the recent dump however that he called Richmond’s Department of Public Works and the Richmond Police.

"We're talking huge amounts of garbage that's not their primary function, that's cleaning up an illegal activity," said Agelasto.

Agelasto then stuck around to capture images of the DPW clean- up. He claims DPW is backlogged with calls to pick up what’s been illegally dumped and it's putting strain on them and the police to have to correct other people's mistakes. He says it's time for the city to crack down on those who do it.

"Wherever you've moved, we're going to find you and you're going to be held accountable for what you've done, you can't do this," said Agelasto.

Richmond Police also acknowledge a huge problem with illegal dumping in the city, mainly in area where there is a high density of student housing. Police call the problem almost unenforceable because many times once police arrive the suspect has moved out of the city or even out of state.

Police urge anyone who is witnessing illegal dumping to call police while it is in progress so that suspects can be immediately charged. Police report that during peak times of the summer they can respond to more than a half a dozen illegal dumping complaints a day.

The Richmond Police Non-Emergency Number is (804)646-5100.