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Fast Facts

Short Dumping

We have provided a few sample photos of short dumpers in action so that the public can see how unnecessary it is and the blight that results from this illegal activity.
The main objective of the Surveillance Camera Program is to provide deterrence to illegal dumping and send a clear message to violators that this activity will not be tolerated in Philadelphia. We also aim to educate the public on trash enforcement laws and proper disposal options.


Today, we are equipped to not only clean up after illegal dumpers, but also identify, locate and prosecute those caught on camera. In 2009, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Police Department Neighborhood Services Unit, our office began installing surveillance cameras that were used in multiple locations throughout the city to photograph short dumping activity. The cameras are mobile so they can be easily repositioned from one location to the next. The images taken by the cameras are used to help locate and prosecute the offenders. As the program develops, we expect to add additional cameras and clamp down further on short dumping.

  • Illegal dumping is a crime in the City of Philadelphia.
  • Since fiscal year 2010, 71 $300 short dumping violations were issued by this program. There were also 48 arrests of short dumpers carried out by the Philadelphia Police Department Neighborhood Services Unit.
  • For the past several years the City of Philadelphia removed tens of millions of pounds of illegally dumped trash and debris from the city. In fiscal year 2010, the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services removed over 11 million pounds of trash and debris, mostly from abandoned lots.
  • Some violators were caught tossing household trash on our streets that would have been picked up anyway by the City's weekly trash collection service.
  • According to the Philadelphia Police Department Neighborhood Services Unit, the number one reason violators gave for short dumping household trash was that they did not want to wait for the weekly trash collection service. Most violators who were caught dumping oversized trash and construction materials said they wanted to avoid paying the required disposal fees.

The Advantage of Recycling

Your recycling material is now worth money in your pocket. Thanks to the Streets Department Recycling Rewards program, instead of short dumping your recycling material, get rewards in the form of redeemable gift cards, gift certificates and coupons. For more information about this program, please visit the Recycling Rewards website.