CHICAGO (CBS) — Recycling bins are supposed to save the environment, but residents in the Gold Coast area said they are being used to sell drugs.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Monday night, neighbors said cameras are not deterring the deals.
Neighbors also said the drug deals are happening in the day and night, and while most dumpsters are chained down, the blue recycling bins are not – and the pushers and users are using them in plain sight.
The alley behind Mel Jones’ house is well-lit, but even that is not enough to keep illegal activity away.
“Five years I’ve observed drug activity in this alley,” Jones said.
Many of the drug deals have been captured n surveillance video. Between Clark and Division streets, drug needles litter the alley – all from addicts who have been seen getting their fix right outside Jones’ garage door.
“Their drug addicts are looking for their next purchase and they’re short of money,” Jones said. “All these garages, including ours, we’re backing our cars; navigating in and out of our garages, and it’s a risk.”
Yet it is not just addicts – Jones captured countless videos of pushers using the recycle bins.
“We’re observing this particular can being used on a regular basis to put things in and take things out,” he said. “Most concern is drug dealers placing drugs and picking up drugs.”
So he is now talking directly to the dealers, leaving a strongly-worded note on paper right where they’re leaving their stash.
“Hey drug dealer,” Jones read the note, “you’re being filmed using facial recognition cameras. The clips are now being given to CPD.”
Jones said his homeowners’ association has given the Chicago Police Department the ability to view the surveillance video in the alley in real time.
“I do understand that the police are over extended,” said neighbor Derek Berry.
While neighbors salute Jones’ efforts, some said it is going to take more than just officers to curtail the problem.
“The responsibility lies more with the community than the police,” Berry said.
Yet Jones insisted, “CPD presence is deterrence.”
And he said if police can’t stop the pushers focusing on drug prevention, “not only to address the drug activity, but to also try to help the addicts.”
Jones just placed the signs addressing the drug dealers on the recycle bins over the weekend. He wants to see if the drug dealers will move on, but points out more neighbors need to do their part in reporting everything they see so police can respond.
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