Ask LH: How Can I Catch The Person Dumping Rubbish In My Driveway?

Dear Lifehacker, My parents live on a rural property and for reasons unknown have become the target of a fast food-eating litterbug. Frequently (at least a couple of times a week) my parents will leave the property to discover fast food waste strewn across their front driveway (on the public land between our gate and the road). Whilst they are quite complacent about the problem (they just clean it up and go about their business) I am getting increasingly frustrated. What can we do to stop this person from making a mess of our drive way? Thanks, Litter Free

Littering picture from Shutterstock

Dear LF,

Rather than a vindictive litterbug, it seems more likely that the person is grabbing food in town and finishes eating it at roughly the same time — which happens to be outside your parent’s house. However, this doesn’t make their behavior any less objectionable or illegal.

The obvious solution is to rig up a security camera or battery-powered webcam so you can document the crime in action. If the offender throws their litter from a vehicle, they’ll be easy enough for the police to identify: just ensure the camera is correctly positioned and has sufficient resolution to pick up the license plate number.

If they toss their rubbish while walking it could be trickier to track them down, but at least you’ll know what they look like. Depending on your bravery levels — and the size of the culprit — you could then set up a motion-sensing alert with your phone and confront them in person the next time you get pinged. (Unless you’re Chuck Norris we don’t recommend this, however.)

There are a few security camera rules you need to be mindful of too. These vary slightly from state to state — you can get an overview of each state’s privacy laws at the OAIC website. You can also learn more about the dos-and-dont’s of setting up your own surveillance system here.

If our readers have any better ideas, let LF know in the comments section below.


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