Illegal trash dumping spikes in San Jose

The City of San Jose says it has a big problem on its hands with a spike in illegal dumping. Homeowners near Buena Vista Park in San Jose are fed up.

On Willard Street, you'll find abandoned chairs and mattresses that seem to mock "No Dumping" signs.

One homeowner says two mattresses have been sitting in front of her house for about a month and she was having a hard time getting through to her garbage pickup.
"It's frustrating," said Dana Curry. "We have a park across the street so kids play there and every week it's something."
Other neighbors say home surveillance videos caught several people illegally dumping junk in their neighborhood and they want the city to do more.
"It's just getting worse and worse and worse," said Shivali Sharma who lives in the area. "All they've done is removed the items. That's useful because they move the junk but it's just letting more people put stuff down. I know there's laws against it but no one’s enforcing it"
Two years ago, the City of San Jose increased its illegal dumping fines.

A first offense will cost $2,500, a second offense costs $5,000 and a third offense will cost $10,000.

The city says its issued 21 citations in the last two years and hundreds of warnings.

San Jose is trying to let people know about a newly launched program this month, which allows residents free unlimited large item pickups.

The city also installed five security cameras in "highly dumped" areas which is says is decreasing activity.

Later this month, San Jose will roll out a new smartphone app called "My San Jose" where residents can report illegal dumping along with other problems by uploading photos and locations of illegally abandoned items.
"We need the evidence. That's where we need help from the residents," said Jennie Loft, with the City of San Jose Environmental Services Department. "If they see anything, they should contact the city and they can help us in catching these illegal dumpers."
Loft says they have a team out every week collecting junk and between July 2016 and January 2017 amassed the following:

2,000 Mattresses
1,200 Couches
906 Shopping Carts
498 Gallons Motor Oil
308 Gallons Human Biological Waste
198 Gallons Paint
"It shouldn't be the city's responsibility to get rid of people's stuff but people should be more responsible too," said homeowner Priam Sharma.

Loft stresses San Jose has expanded its program which now provides free large item pickups.

San Jose used to charge if the pickups included more than 3 items.

Loft says the number of scheduled pickups has gone up more than 400% in the last two years.