Illegal Dumping Indicator
The rate of illegal dumping reports per 1,000 residents reported to the Citizen Service Bureau in the City of St. Louis
Residents of majority-black neighborhoods report illegal dumping nearly four times more often than residents of majority-white neighborhoods.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Illegal Dumping, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean residents are equally likely to report illegal dumping in their neighborhood. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal; we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Illegal Dumping measures the rate of illegal dumping reports per 1,000 residents reported to the Citizen Service Bureau in the City of St. Louis. All complaints related to debris in alleys, streets, occupied and vacant buildings, and vacant lots were categorized as illegal dumping. In 2016, residents submitted 8,503 reports of illegal dumping, at a rate of 27 reported cases per 1,000 residents.
Illegal Dumping Analysis
Reports of illegal dumping using the Citizen Service Bureau per 1,000 residents by neighborhood in St. Louis City.
|Reports of illegal dumping
|Illegal dumping reports per 1,000 people
|3.795 to 1
Data Source: City of St. Louis, 2016; American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2012-2016.
Data Note: "Illegal dumping" includes all complaints coded as Debris-alley/street, Debris-Occupied Bldg, Debris-Vacant Bldg, and Debris-Vacant Lot. 669 reports did not have a neighborhood code, which represents 7.9% of reports. These are included in total reports of illegal dumping, but not in reports in majority-black and majority-white neighborhoods.
What does this analysis mean?
Residents of majority-black neighborhoods report illegal dumping almost four times as often as residents of majority-white neighborhoods. In 2016, there were 5,414 reports of illegal dumping in majority-black neighborhoods and 1,711 reports in majority-white neighborhoods. This equates to an illegal dumping reporting rate of 43.3 reports per 1,000 people in majority-black neighborhoods and 11.4 reports per 1,000 people in majority-white neighborhoods. In no-majority neighborhoods, there were 709 reports of illegal dumping, which equates to an illegal dumping reporting rate of 17.3 reports per 1,000 people. If illegal dumping rates were equitable, there would have been 3,989 fewer reports of illegal dumping in majority-black neighborhoods in 2016.
Why does Illegal Dumping matter?
The disparity in Illegal Dumping is an example of environmental racism, where communities of color experience greater environmental risks than white communities. The practice of illegal dumping has a significant impact on the real and perceived health and well-being of a community. Items dumped illegally can include anything from a mattress, to dozens of tires, to hundreds of truckloads of drywall scrap from a construction job.
Residents of areas subject to illegal dumping are exposed to environmental hazards. While court records show that the majority of those convicted of illegal dumping do not live in the City and are instead coming into these neighborhoods to dump debris, responding to illegal dumping requires City resources. Reports are addressed by several City departments, including Police, Streets, Refuse, and Forestry. But even when City departments clean up illegal dumping sites, that does not mean the problem is permanently resolved. Many sites are frequent targets by repeat offenders.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
While the Ferguson Commission report does not directly reference illegal dumping, related calls to action include:
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there a racial disparity in Illegal Dumping?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Illegal Dumping?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Illegal Dumping?
How can I learn more about this issue?
If you live in an area that is experiencing illegal dumping, call the Citizen Service Bureau at 314-622-4800 and tell them you want to report illegal dumping to the Trash Task Force. If you witness illegal dumping, call the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department directly at (314) 231-1212. If a witness provides information that leads to prosecution, then they may be eligible for a $100 reward.