Coming Soon To A Dumpster Near You

By kowalski Posted in Comments (12) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

When the only tool you have is a hammer, the old saying goes, everything begins to look like a nail. And in Britain (and soon, the United States) the hammer is the surveillance camera, which is now being used to nail people who can no longer be trusted to put their garbage out for collection properly, or not tip it over and spread it around. [HT: Drudge]

Since their citizens can no longer be trusted to follow simple rules for the handling of their personal refuse, a town in Britain has decided that even garbage must be monitored -- all the better to "...catch people committing 'major envirocrimes'".

Householders in a seaside town have been told to put their bins out at the front of their homes and not in an alleyway to the rear.

They must also leave their rubbish out between set times to ensure it does not attract pests or miss the dust cart...
The tiny covert camera, which has cost Weymouth and Portland Council, Dorset, up to £10,000, will also help catch householders who put their rubbish out too early or too late.

To enforce this, the city is putting a spy camera in alleyway garbage bags. What's next? RFID chips embedded in toilet paper to enforce Sheryl Crow's "joke" about her squares-per-squat proposal?

C'mon all you villagers out know you're all guilty of "major envirocrimes" -- or at least, you will be soon. Welcome to the 21st Century. sounds like the draconian rules & regs that are in place in most of America's subdivision covenants. Where we live, you get a nasty note from the subdivision Gestapo board when you leave your trash can out in front of your house too long or for other related violations.

CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

I don't mind notes and even a visit from the building rep. in a development, or even a sign placed inside the public area informing neighbors when someone is breaking the rules that everyone has agreed upon.

I lived in a Chicago condominium until a year and a half ago. It was a garden unit at the corner of the building (which was a large development, occupying an entire block) and one of the two main trash repositories/dumpster stations was 50 feet from my back door. We'd occasionally get people who were irresponsible with their trash -- not putting it inside the dumpsters, not closing the dumpsters, etc. and it could be a nuisance. I certainly didn't want the odor or the vermin that poorly-placed garbage could attract.

But we also didn't decide to place security cameras in our garbage bins to enforce the rules. Even in a big city like Chicago it wasn't necessary to do anything more than bring it up at the next association meeting and post a flyer in the mailbox area. A little bit of community spirit and shared responsibility, combined with a gentle public shaming (which never needed to even mention the offender by name) always did the trick, and the problem only cropped up once or twice a year, usually when a new owner moved in.

Instead this town is spending $20,000 on a hidden camera and is going to start issuing tickets and fines for "major envirocrimes." It's more than a little pathetic that they have to take surveillance to such extremes over something as simple as putting one's garbage out in the right place and in a proper container. I mean, this is the most basic, dirt-simple act of civic responsibility that people should be able to handle, but apparently they can't be trusted.

and you're right on the "envirocrimes" front. Pretty assinine. But when has anyone accused the environmentalist wackos of acting in any other way...?

here a few years ago! Now, I will admit that Juneau did have a serious problem with Black Bears roaming neighborhoods and living off garbage. We had several incidents of bears even breaking into houses. Wife and I got chased out of the hot tub one night when one came sauntering up on the deck - thank God the front door was unlocked!

DF&G trapped them, relocated them, and ultimately shot a lot of them, which didn't go over very well, so the Peoples' Republic of Juneau went on a "war footing." We had committees, we had public meetings, we had endless letters to the editor and editorials; it was a regular "community activist" frenzy. One guy even ran for mayor on the "bear problem" and was rewarded with a nice little sinecure to get out of the race.

In the end, the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new steel "bear proof" garbage containers all over town. Property owners and the refuse company spent huge sums on all new dumpsters. And all residents were/are prohibited from storing garbage outside, and you can only take it out after 4 AM on your pickup day. They put on a "garbage cop" to monitor it and also had the dogcatchers monitor it, and the fines could be pretty steep for repeat offenders.

It has been a real PITA, and I hate keeping a week's worth of garbage in my garage and dealing with all the rules, but I must admit it has worked pretty well; very few bears roaming town anymore and no shootings (that anyone knows about) in the last couple of years.

I'm torn about it; not too many years ago, if a bear showed up in your yard and was threatening at all, you just shot it, and that was the end of that. Those days are gone and at a philosophical level, I don't know that the World is a better place. That said, "shoot, shovel, and shut up" doesn't get it in an urban area anymore, and something did have to be done before somebody got killed or badly mauled, and the program has worked.
In Vino Veritas

...bears even breaking into houses. Wife and I got chased out of the hot tub one night when one came sauntering up on the deck - thank God the front door was unlocked!

Because I would have paid to see that!!! ;)

This is also why I support people's 2nd Amendment rights. Because if the door had been locked, I would hope that you'd have a .50 caliber handgun out there with you if the bear problem was that bad.

Now, contrast that with the situation for those hapless townies in Britain: the government doesn't even trust them to take out their trash, which might explain why you can't own anything more powerful than a piffling airgun as a private citizen without jumping through a million hoops in GB.

CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

if it happened to somebody else! A 3-400 pound bear between you and any line of retreat other than going over the side of the deck will crystalize your perceptions! Blacks aren't really predatory, unlike Browns, but if they feel threatened or you get between a sow and her cub(s) they can be very dangerous. It was dark, so we couldn't see if there was a cub around, so we just bailed over the side and left the deck to the bear. It shuffled around a while and went on about its business. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot one that threatened me or tried to get in the house, but as long as they're just shuffling around, I can live and let live.

The only handgun you use for "bear insurance" is the one with the special rubber hammer that won't hurt so bad when the bear takes it away and shoves it ... Handy, dandy 12 gauge will do the job nicely. Mine goes with us any time we go out on the boat; if you go ashore, voluntarily or involuntarily, on any of the islands around here, you are NOT at the top of the food chain! And out there, you have real bears; thousand pound brown bears that are predatory and all you are is a tempting morsel that happens to be in their territory.

In Vino Veritas

In college I had a teammate from the Upper Peninsula. He shot the black bear hanging on his wall with a pistol from a distance of about 50 feet. Of course, it was a very BIG pistol! ;-)

I don't think it's a coincidence that I live in one of the more rural towns in Massachusetts, where a relatively large fraction of the population owns firearms privately, and we don't have much trouble with rogue animals. We have plenty of wildlife, and the animals here aren't "endangered" by any means, either. But people here don't get arrested when they kill nuisance animals on their property, and that's the way it should be.

We had .45s while fly fishing at Sitka. We had some bears join us for the salmon runs. If they came close, the pistols are just to cause noise to scare them off. If bears attack people, it is usually the people's fault.

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