It is natural to panic if anything that belongs to you gets missing. The feeling is worsened with a revengeful attitude when something is stolen by petty people, even if something is just as trivial as a trash can.
What to Do If My Trash Can Is Stolen?
If you find yourself in such a situation, you must stay calm and check with your local police or trash pickup company.
It is not advisable to confront or accuse neighbors or people who live around you with your suspicions, especially if you do not have proof of them stealing your trash can.
Recent research has shown that unexpectedly losing items tends to make us feel like we’re not in control, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, and overall, this increases stress levels. This is very applicable when your trash can gets stolen.
The Process of Reporting Stolen Garbage Can
Once you notice your trash can is missing, you should call your trash management service ( whether private or city-owned). Get them informed about the missing trash can and ask them what you should do.
While some companies will have you replace the trash cans yourself, according to the specifications and dimensions of the company or the one that got stolen, some other companies will provide you with a new trash can at no cost to you.
However, if you report trash can theft too frequently, they will most likely charge you for the replacements).
Homeowners are always advised to take note of the trash can’s serial or identification number. Most trash containers have one on them.
If your trash can gets missing, notify the police too. You could drop the serial number with them as well so that in any case they spot anyone moving a trash can, they will intercept it.
Reasons Why Someone May Steal a Trash Can!
We probably may not be able to uncover the reason for every theft, but we know that thieves steal.
1- Money: A trash can thief might also steal your trash can to make gains off selling it on the black market. On rare occasions, thieves steal trash cans to make garbage fires. Many homeless people steal people’s bikes and trash cans. One of them might be the thief.
2- Personal Use: Someone might steal your trash can for use inside their house or backyard or maybe they want to do a little DIY project with it.
3- Punish Someone: In rare cases where you have a cold war going on with a neighbor for parking space issues or trash can issues, they might want to give you a lesson by doing weird stuff with your trash can. Maybe they dragged it with their car or something, who knows!
Yes, It Is a Crime to Steal a Trash Can!
The law frowns at all kinds of stealing. If you own a trash can that you keep on your property, and it gets stolen from your property, then that was a very intentional act of theft. The trash can thief trespassed on your property and tampered with your personal property as well.
Meanwhile, a trash can theft might not be enough reason for a jail term especially if it was stolen while out on your pickup day in some parts of the US, it most often gets punished under petty thefts by the authorities in some other cities. You just have to check with your local police.
How to Secure Your Trash Can from Being Stolen?
If you can recover your lost trash can(s) soon enough for your everyday use or if you purchase new ones or get replacements from your garbage management company, consider putting measures in place to secure your trash cans.
ere are some security measures you can take to prevent your trash can from being stolen:
1- Don’t leave your trash can out on the curb too early or too late.
For instance, if your pickup time is 8 am, don’t take out the trash by 8 pm the night before, also, after your pick-up time, don’t leave it out till late at night. If you do, it’ll become a target for thieves.
To even drive this point further home, most cities have fines or penances for individuals who leave their trash cans out 24hrs after their pick-up time. After your pick-up time, wheel your trash can back to its safe storage position.
2- Customize your trash can
There are high chances that your trash can will get stolen if it is too generic, this is why you have to adopt ways to make it unique. A good way to do this is to use paint.
Get bright-colored paints that would sharply contrast the color of your trash can and make it stand out from other trash cans of the same color. Create big and bold, special patterns (shapes, lines, flowers, writings e.g your address or your name claiming the trash can as your property, etc.).
Do so on as many parts of the trash can as possible. Reliable sources have proven that the more unique your trash can looks, the less likely it is to get stolen.
3- Always shred any document or paper that carries personal information before trashing it
Identity thieves steal trash cans to search for personal information or documents ( e.g. names, emails, bank details, phone numbers, identity cards, etc,) pretty much anything that carries personal info.
With the information, they might cause harm to the real individual (kidnapping, taking loans with the individual’s details and leaving them to bear the consequences, etc.) To deter such thieves from stealing your trash can, always shred documents before putting bits of them in the trash.
4- Build protective housing for your trash can. You could make a DIY shed, use potted plants, or a picket fence as a cover.
Make sure the side facing the street is mostly camouflaged. Invest in garbage cans that have locks. Not only will this keep thieves, insects, and rodent pests away, but it will also help to keep your garbage intact if the container gets pushed over by wind or knocked down by rodents.
5- Consider investing in some video surveillance cameras too (with the sign out for people to know).
This is also another measure you could take to deter thieves from stealing your trash can.
If you live in a city where trash can theft is on the rise, be alert and always adhere to safety instructions. Those cans are quite expensive. Whenever you notice suspicious or questionable individual activities or cars seemingly hovering around like they’re up to no good, you could be doing yourself and your neighborhood a big favor by notifying the police.