It's a Crime to Litter

"Crime is tied to litter," is a point that Bradley J. Rinehimer, JCC Chief of Police, made in his "James City County: Zero Tolerance for Litter' presentation at the Virginia Peninsula Clean Business Forum. The recent forum held at the Kingsmill Resort Riverview Room was sponsored by the James City Clean County Commission, Hampton Clean City Commission, City of Newport News Department of Public Works, and the York County Beautification Committee.

Rinehimer explained that communities that are well maintained and litter free see little crime as citizens respect those areas. A community that is littered with fast food waste, cigarette butts, paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic throwaways has many impacts. It influences others to litter, attracts criminal behavior, is destructive to wildlife and the environment, and dismays visitors and tourists. In addition, it costs the tax payers; $2 billion a year is spent in Hampton Roads to clean up litter.

The Board of Supervisors passed the James City County Zero Tolerance for Litter Resolution & Policy. What this means is that law enforcement officers, local judicial circuit courts and citizens are creating a social norm that does not accept littering or illegal dumping. Littering is a crime, and JCC is increasing enforcement of this crime.

There are penalties for anyone littering or dumping trash-fines from $250 to $3,000 and jail time from 6 to 12 months. Think again before throwing that lighted cigarette butt out your car window. It will cost you.

JCC is working with churches, home owner associations, schools, community, state and federal organizations, and businesses such as construction contractors, developers. landscape companies, and property managers to educate them about the importance of litter prevention and to enlist their help in enforcing the Zero Tolerance for Litter Policy & Guidelines. Citizen volunteers are welcome to collaborate with all County departments to wipe out the litter problem. To volunteer, contact Dawn Oleksy at 757-259-5375 or

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