Thomas exit off I-17

Coming from New Jersey, and having worked in New York City and the Bronx, I was used to stepping over trash on sidewalks and streets, overflowing garbage cans and people sleeping in doorways, parks and subways.

The Phoenix Metropolitan area was the perfect place to raise our children.  The people were always smiling, the weather was fantastic even in the hot months because the humidity was extremely low and the streets and sidewalks were pristine. At one time people took pride in their cities.

Today, as I exited I-17 at Thomas Avenue, I stopped at the light and took the time to actually look around to see garbage, lots of it, all over. Going east on Thomas I noticed garbage everywhere- on the streets, in parking lots and in front of small homes that have been converted into businesses. Thomas is on the my long list of littered streets in our city.

In my opinion, there are several reasons for our city looking like every other city – New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles.

One reason is that people don’t care where they throw their trash.  Water bottles, masks, fast food wrappers, dirty diapers – and the list goes on. 

Littering is a criminal offense in our state, but most people don’t even know they are committing a crime.  Arizona Statute A.R.S. 13-1603 clearly says that it is criminal to throw, place, drop or permit to be dropped on public property or property of another that is not a lawful dump any litter, destructive or injurious material that the person does not immediately remove.

I am going to be realistic and say that cops obviously do not have time to focus on litter or people who are littering when crime is on the rise in Phoenix. 

According to CrimeSpot Phoenix reported 43,702 crime incidents in May, 2022, April recorded 41,237 crime incidents and March recorded 37,014 crime incidents.

1,151 shootings were recorded in Phoenix, from March through May.  That’s an average of about 383 shootings per month. April saw the most shootings with 395, followed by March with 380 shootings, and May with 376 shootings.

So, as I have said before, our law enforcement is business with these serious crimes so it’s up to the residents of cities to take the litter problem serious.  We don’t want our cities to emulate filthy cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.

Of course, it goes without saying that the larger the homeless population, the more trash accumulates on the streets which increases the rat population. The city with the highest rat infestation problem is Chicago, the third-largest city in America based on population. The No.2 city based on population. Los Angeles ranks second according to Orkin. New York, the largest city in America ranks third in rat infestation. I am so glad we didn’t make that list, but if we don’t start caring about our city, we will have those disgusting rodents running around Phoenix.

As of May 10, 2022, the majority of people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County are in Phoenix with about 3,096 people unsheltered, a 35% increase since 2020.

Phoenix just received $70.5 million from the federal government that will go towards homelessness and affordable housing. If you are interested in the specific uses for the monies, click here.

Can we solve the litter problem and help the homeless population and, hopefully, not get infested with rats?