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Dumpster Diving: A Growing Trend and an Increasing Nuisance

Posted by Rick Charney on Jul 30, 2018

As evidenced by the influx of blogs, Reddit threads and Discord chats, dumpster diving has been gaining massive popularity and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. It’s so trendy, in fact, that some websites are even posting tips for would-be urban foragers. Treasure Pursuits devotes an entire article to the best places to dumpster dive. Their suggestions include affluent neighborhoods, college dorms, retail stores, apartment complexes, electronics stores like AT&T and T-Mobile, bakeries and florists, to name a few. Other blogs and videos discuss the best days and times to forage. While each daypart has its pros and cons, the most favorable hours are naturally before the stores open and after they close. This growing trend is not merely relegated to internet-savvy millennials. Vagrants frequent dumpsters for food near restaurants and grocery stores.

Many may consider dumpster diving to be a victimless crime, but in some locations, like Texas, it is illegal. While it is legal in most other parts of North America, dumpster divers can be prosecuted for loitering and trespassing. It can also have adverse effects on your shopping center or retail plaza. Foragers tend to leave a mess in their wake, which, if not picked up, has the potential to deter customers and tenants from your property. Liability is also a concern for property managers. If a trespasser gets injured while on your premises, it is often up to you to prove you took reasonable care to prevent access to restricted areas. That can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools in place to help you.

So, what are the right tools? One of the first lines of defense is to enclose the dumpster with a fence and lock it after hours. For an added layer of protection, live video surveillance should be part of your solution. Trained video security operators watch strategically-placed cameras in real time. When they see a potential problem, like a dumpster diver, they can activate a speaker warning, which informs the suspects they are being watched and they need to leave the property immediately. You can see our video surveillance system in action at a shopping center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dumpster diving is a popular trend and a big concern for shopping center property managers. To learn more about how our proactive security solutions can help deter unwanted activity at your retail property, contact us here.