Local News

More Enforcement Catches Few Litterbugs

Posted March 7, 2008 6:29 p.m. EST
Updated March 7, 2008 8:55 p.m. EST

— Wake County has spent more than $4,500 on a new program to crack down on littering along area roads but has nabbed only one violator in the past month.

Since the beginning of February, 60 off-duty Wake County deputies have been patrolling 51 miles along nine area roads plagued by litter, ready to charge people with a criminal offense or hand out county civil citations for littering.

After more than 150 hours on patrol, they have issued one citation.

"I would have thought that there would have been more citations, but clearly, there are other large issues for the public safety officers," said Joe Bryan, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners.

Bryan, who supports the program, said it's too early to determine whether it works.

The county also has launched educational and cleanup initiatives to help reduce litter, but Craig Wittig, coordinator of Wake County Environmental Services, said the patrols need more time to become effective as well.

"It's a different approach. We believe enforcement can work. We just need to figure out how to do it," Wittig said.

Detective K.J. Blackwell said he takes his litter patrol seriously.

"It is a crime, and it is illegal to throw trash out," Blackwell said. "You get your presence out. People know that you are out here looking, so that deters them somewhat."