Police plan crackdown on litterbugs

State Rep. Jared Solomon and 2nd District Police are enforcing a new law to combat litter.

State Rep. Jared Solomon last week teamed with Capt. Robert Zaffino, interim commander of the 2nd Police District, to announced a partnership to enforce a new law to combat litter.

Earlier this summer, the legislature passed a bill by Sen. Mario Scavello, a Monroe County Republican, that requires a person who scatters rubbish to pick up litter or illegally dumped trash for between five and 30 hours within six months, in addition to the existing fine of $50 to $300.

For a second or subsequent offense, the offender may also be required to pick up litter or illegally dumped trash for 30 to 100 hours over one year, in addition to the existing fine of $300 to $1,000.

Furthermore, existing fines are doubled when committed in a litter enforcement corridor and tripled for litter that originated from a commercial business within a litter enforcement corridor.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful supported the measure.

Solomon, whose office sponsors four neighborhood cleanups per year, said laws without enforcement are not effective, adding that he is glad that Zaffino is on board.

Zaffino will have officers issue citations when they see violations. He wants to keep streets not only safe, but clean and free from unsightly trash, debris and rubbish. He urges all Northeast residents to take pride in their neighborhoods by using proper receptacles to dispose of trash.

Solomon and Zaffino held a news conference last week at Castor and Magee avenues.

Last October, Solomon and Rep. John Taylor were at the same intersection championing legislation that would increase penalties and fines on chronic nuisances such as littering, loitering and disorderly conduct and remit one-third of the increased fines back to the municipalities for litter remediation efforts.

In the end, the Scavello bill passed, and Solomon is satisfied. He called litter a “scourge” in Philadelphia.

The night before the news conference, Solomon said he and his wife, Tiffani, cleaned litter from the sidewalk outside their Large Street home. The next morning?

“There was litter all over my yard and sidewalk,” Solomon said.

Also appearing at the news conference were two members of a Jidan Cleaning crew, carrying brooms and trash cans. Solomon, the city Department of Streets, Steve’s Prince of Steaks and Buccann restaurant sponsor the orange-shirted street cleaning team, which focuses on business corridors.

Zaffino, who is filling in for Capt. Thomas McLean, who is spending 10 weeks on assignment at the FBI, said he was surprised to hear littering as the №1 complaint from residents.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue we need to deal with,” Zaffino said.

Zaffino said that, while he’ll instruct officers to look out for litterbugs, there is another simple way to keep the streets clean. People should throw their trash in trash cans, not on the street. ••