The Seal Beach City Council has decided to bust "trash busters" in an effort to stop people from rummaging through residents' garbage cans.
The council has approved an ordinance making it a misdemeanor for anyone other than the owner to open and search through a trash can. Violators of the new law, which will go into effect March 25, can be cited and fined up to $500 if convicted.
What prompted the crackdown on trash trespassers?
According to Dan Joseph, assistant city manager, the city first became aware of the problem last summer when there was a sudden increase in cockroaches and rodents, particularly around trash cans. After a mail survey, however, city officials realized the real culprits were a different type of animal and decided on a legal solution.
"The city received a number of complaints from residents who say there are people going through trash cans, leaving them in disarray," Joseph said. "Evidently, people have even ripped open the trash bags, spilling the contents and just leaving the trash cans a mess. Some people consider it a violation of their privacy."