By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Officials in San Jose who have been trying to crack down on illegal dumping are now attempting a different approach by targeting the trash at its source.

There are hundreds of illegal dumping sites around the South Bay’s biggest city.

“The smell is no good,” said one neighbor. “They put the garbage here, yeah.”

The dumping creates an unpleasant assault on the senses and a huge amount of work for city employees.

A crew typically cleans up about 25 different sites per day.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is focusing on the dumping problem because he says it can actually lead to more crime.

“The aesthetics of a city are very important,” said Liccardo. “We know from criminology studies that how well kept a neighborhood is is an indicator for whether or not crime is likely to follow.”

So the mayor is trying something new.

Instead of offering three large item pickups per household per year to collect worn-out sofas, old dressers or mattresses, Liccardo wants to expand the program to unlimited large junk item pickups for free.

“We want to partner with our neighborhoods so that no neighborhood feels like a neglected corner of the city,” explained Liccardo.

The city says the three item pick-up program has grown 200 percent in the past year. If the junk pick-ups are unlimited, the number could be even higher.

San Jose resident Dieu Cau thinks it would help in her neighborhood near Singleton Avenue.

“I think it’s good. At least they will know that they don’t have to throw everything out there,” said Cau. “I think it will be good for safety and clean too.”

But the city is still cracking down where it can.

Letters found in junk piles will be used to track down the party who may have illegally dumped them. Those people will receive a warning and or a fine.


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