Excessive imbibers, big drinkers with small bladders, and public urinators of all stripes be advised—somebody’s watching you, and it’s not a pretty sight.
Last month, a few Canton residents, fed up with people peeing in their flower pots, on their walls, and on their cars, launched Yougotcaughtpissing.com, a Web site devoted to shaming public urinators and drawing attention to the problem of peeing in public places.
The group members, who prefer to remain anonymous, characterize themselves as a grassroots movement that wants to take their community back from, well, the pee-ers.
The videos on Yougotcaughtpissing.com are recorded and posted by contributors from all over the city.
Recent videos from Opening Day show exhibistionic Os fans relieving themselves in front of a crowd at the ball park—and a young woman emptying her bladder in the stands.
Yougotcaughtpissing.com’s founders feel that public urination in Baltimore is a serious problem, and one not taken seriously by the city government.
“On May 6, a meeting is planned at Du Burns Arena titled ‘Addressing the trash problem in Canton,’ while the epidemic of public urination is largely ignored,” writes Yougotcaughtpissing.com’s spokesman.
“From our experience, many of these urinators are the same people that are dumping their trash…For example, a drunk exits the bar, p–s in the alley, dumps his ashtray and any spare trash from his car, then drives off. There is a sense that Canton is a place to have fun and party, which is correct. But that doesn’t allow people the right to p—s all over our community and leave trash everywhere,” the spokesman continued.
Kraft’s office says the majority of complaints of public urination relate to the homeless along Broadway Square in Fell’s Point.
“The only time we tend to receive complaints about public urination from ‘entertainment areas’ is during large events—St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, beer festivals, etc,” says Lexie Albe, an aide at Kraft’s office.
Yougotcaughtpissing.com’s videos and images show a more nuanced picture of the Eastside, including people relieving themselves in Canton during non-festival events. One video shows a woman, urinating against a parked car in Canton. She is fully aware that she is being filmed. She appears unfazed and, according to the Web site, even asked the videographer for toilet paper.
Eastside residents say public urination is an ongoing problem, and some find Yougotcaughtpissing.com to be a funny way to draw attention to a decidedly unhumorous problem.
“I’m fine with such a Web site,” says Darryl Jurkiewicz, president of the Canton Community Association. I recently had to stop a guy from peeing on my neighbor’s garage door.”
Public urination is especially bad during pub crawls, he notes.
“People will go to 10 or 12 bars, have a drink at each one, walk from Fell’s Point to Canton. It’s disgusting,” he says. “When I was younger and drank more often, I didn’t urinate in the street. You just didn’t do that. It should be common sense. Even for drunks,” Jurkiewicz says.
“To be perfectly honest,” he adds. “I wish there was such a Web site devoted to people who let their animals urinate and defecate on people’s property. That’s another problem.”
Victor Corbin, president of the Fell’s Prospect Community Association, feels public urination is endemic in Charm City.
“I can tell you that just since last Thursday, I’ve had no fewer than four guys peeing near my house,” Corbin says. “ It is a big issue in areas with many bars; it often comes up at Liquor Board hearings that I attend,” Corbin explains.
As for Yougotcaughtpissing.com, Corbin says the site is funny and a good idea, but feels that singling out offenders on film doesn’t help address the root causes of the problem.
He cites the over-serving of bar patrons and the lack of ample bathrooms in many of the taverns as a concern.
“When a lot of these bars were built, Canton was not as popular,” Corbin says, adding that most bar patrons lived nearby.
“Today, you get bars with one bathroom and the capacity to serve 200 people, most of whom don’t live in the neighborhood, he adds.
“Perhaps this is something to address with zoning,” Corbin proposes.
Jean Pula, president of Hampstead Hill Community Organization, says she understands the intent of Yougotcaughtpissing.com, but she doubts being caught on film will curb the public urinators’ behavior.
“Those individuals simply do not care; they will likely be proud of their 15 minutes of fame,” she says.
Pula adds that she personally finds the idea of Yougotcaughtpissing.com to be a bit “Big Brother,” and capturing and posting images of people who urinate in public to be, well, “disgusting.”
“A citation will get their attention in a much more profound way,” Pula believes.
Fines for public urination are among the highest of Baltimore citations.
The fines are $500 per offense, says Southeastern District Community Relations officer Rosa Ramirez, who acknowledges that public urination is a problem in Baltimore neighborhoods with a lot of bars, such as Canton, Fell’s Point, and Federal Hill.
What impact do the founders of Yougotcaughtpissing.com feel their web site is having?
They believe it’s definitely drawing attention to the problem.
“These people are not just p—sing on “Me” or [Canton] Square but are p—sing on our community, as a whole. When confronted, the response of the typical pis_er is frequently, ‘What do you expect? It’s Canton,” or ‘Why are you taking a picture of me?’”
“Well, now [they] know,” Yougotcaughtpissing.com’s spokesman says.
by Danielle Sweeney