LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The City of Lawton is asking for your help to catch people dumping old couches, junk or trash on other peoples property.
Neighborhood Services says they've done a lot of work this past year to clean up those junk yards, but there's still a lot of vacant homes or elderly residents that get trash dumped in their yard. That then means the owners and the city have to clean it up.
It's vacant homes like these that have turned into junk yards.
"People are just abusing deceased residents properties," said Joshua Leach, the city's Neighborhood Services Supervisor. "People that they know have passed on or were unable to maintain their properties...elderly residents are just using them as junk yards for their own personal gains."
Leach says when they come across places like this, they notify the homeowner--even if they are not responsible for the mess..
"It's still their responsibility to have it cleaned," said Leach. "Of course, we work with them to make sure the property gets cleaned with the least amount of aggravation to them, but a lot of times, there is no property owners available. They either passed away or don't live near the area."
Leach says it's then up to the residents to report what's happening in their neighborhoods..
"People who live in neighborhoods know their neighborhoods better than anybody else," said Leach. "If you see a problem, report it."
Leach says the city will hire a contractor to clean the property and take everything to the landfill, but that comes at a cost..
"We do send the bill to the property owners responsible for where the junk ended up," said Leach. "They have 30 days to pay that bill after we send them the notice, After that it goes to a lean on the property? So the taxpayers do re coop the public funds. We do get that money back in time."
As long as you're a Lawton resident and have a water and utility account, you have free access to dump things at the landfill that's open Monday through Saturday. The only fees are for commercial entities.
"Take anything you need other than hazardous or waste," said Leach."You can take tires without the rims on them, you can take tires, appliances, dried out paints, anything of that nature they will take."
Leach says those who are caught dumping items illegally can get citations and go to court. If you see anything suspicious like this in your neighborhood, you can contact Lawton Police or Neighborhood services.