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Wake Deputies Begin Cracking Down on Litterbugs

Posted January 14, 2008
Updated January 18, 2008

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— Wake County deputies on Monday began patrolling areas strewn with the most roadside litter to begin enforcing new county regulations.

Through the end of the month, anyone pulled over for littering will receive a written warning and be given information about North Carolina litter laws. Starting Feb. 1, all litter violators will be ticketed for either a state criminal violation or a county civil violation.

"Litter on the roads and highways is not a new problem, but it is a problem that is growing quickly," Commissioner Tony Gurley said in a statement.

"Wake County does not intend on following this trend. In fact, we intend to reverse it.

"The program is simple. You litter, you pay for it – and you will pay a lot of money as well as your time," Gurley said. "Fines will range from $250 to $2,000."

Nine road segments totaling 51 miles have been selected for enforcement initially, and 60 deputies have been trained to handle it. Sheriff Donnie Harrison said off-duty deputies would work in four-hour shifts to assist regular patrols.

"Quite simply, your trash can cost you cash – and time," Harrison said. "Is throwing a burger wrapper out your car window worth a fine that could cost you $2,000, hours of mandatory community service and points on your driver's license?"

The pilot program will help Raleigh and Wake County officials improve the efficiency and effectiveness of pursing criminal citations and civil penalties for littering, officials said.

The county's Solid Waste Management Division also is working with a consultant to identify and evaluate successful litter management models from elsewhere to determine the best approach to take locally.

Last year, Wake County had almost 380 tons of litter on roadsides – an average of about 150 bags a day, according to the Department of Transportation.

North Carolina spent $18 million last year cleaning litter from roadsides.


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  • cute Jan 15, 2008

    nope, i don't live in la..la land. 20 years ago the Raleigh/Cary area was a lot different than NJ, NY or other areas. People talked to each other....looked each other in the eye. A handshake on an agreement meant something. Now...littering, stealing from construction sites, road rage...is it becoming the norm?
    A little kindness from each one of us goes a LONG way.

  • truth-hurts Jan 15, 2008

    Sounds ridiculously simple, but taking a step towards personal responsibility/accountability in not littering could demonstrate what the same could do for much bigger social issues...

  • 3potato4 Jan 15, 2008

    I would like to see some personal accountability in folks to just stop littering. That's not the most difficult thing to accomplish in a life time. And to those that throw out dirty baby diapers, for the love of pete, hang onto that thing until you get home. It's called a "food lion bag", keep a few in your trunk. IMO, the guilty party to that one is probably beyond retraining, that is a person that is ignorant and nasty to the core.

  • PikeMom4real Jan 15, 2008

    Will this include Hunters?I have had to pick up beer cans,cig. buts,nab wrappers left behind from hunting.But I guess the law will not see this part of littering.It's about time to get some muscle behind the litter bugs.

  • Timbo Jan 15, 2008

    Cigarette butts aren't biodegradable. But anyway, that's still littering. If you smoke put 'em out in the ashtray, that's what it's for.

  • john283594 Jan 15, 2008

    "What makes some of you folks so fired up about people throwing cigarette butts out the window? Do you throw gum out the window? What's the difference?"

    You nasty little thumper, hang your head in shame!!!

  • Humungous Jan 15, 2008

    Same here in Franklin County. Every Saturday, I fill a trash bag with KFC and McDonald's wrappers, Newport cigarette packs and Colt 45 cans,some of which have been field-modified into a pipe. Go figure!

  • independent_thinker Jan 15, 2008

    "So, I don't know where a bunch of you people are from, but I don't think you're local for any length of time. This USED to be a wonderful place to live and work and play. Safe. Clean. Now it seems that too many are moving from places where it is so nasty that you are used to it."

    Safe? That's truly revisionist history. In the 70's, NC had a murder rate that looked like a middle east war zone. I know the Yankees and Illegals [sic] have "invaded", but you folks were doing all sorts of violent crime against each other before any migration took place.

    Go back to your right-wing radio to find someone new to hate/blame today.

  • truth-hurts Jan 15, 2008

    Thomas Jefferson - really? "Why so fired up about cigarette butts?" Why don't you ask that to the people who lost their homes last year when some irresponsible moron tossed a lit butt out and caused a huge fire that destroyed an apartment complex. With conditions as dry as they have been, I'm surprised we haven't had more incidents like that... And you mean to tell me you don't mind a those things bounncing off or under your car when you're driving?

  • Arbi Jan 15, 2008

    You should see Harnett county. i live in the country where a new subdivision is be constructed. I counted 13 beer container along a 1 mile strecth of road and its getting worse every day