High Point police stepping up efforts to clean up used needles on ground

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Nearly two weeks ago, a woman was walking down Central Avenue in High Point when found something she didn’t expect to see -- used needles.

“First I was scared. I mean a kid could've walked by 10 minutes later and stepped on those needles,” she said.

When she spoke with FOX8, she decided to remain anonymous.

“I’ve done what I’ve can as a citizen to let the police know that they're there. So, who's responsible for cleaning them up?” she said.

Since she spoke to us almost two weeks ago, we went digging for answers.

Now High Point police are taking responsibility.

“Anytime there is a pile of needles, things like that, then it is best case to call or contact the police department,” Lt. Curtis Cheeks said.

This after first suggesting to people they needed to buy a special container for less than $10 at their local drug store.

Now all officers have them in their patrol cars and are ready to respond.

However, with the police department fielding over 300 calls a day, they say it is important to be very specific with where the needles are.

“We just ask people to understand that every call that we receive is important, but we have to prioritize our calls. So when you call it is important that there is a pile of needles there but it may take us 15-20 minutes to respond,” Cheeks said.

If you are not willing to wait, you can dispose of the needles yourself but you need to follow these safety tips:

  1. Use a pair of tongs, pliers or tweezers to pick up the needle. It is best to wear gloves.
  2. Pick the needle up by pointing the needle tip down and away from you.
  3. Put the needle in a sharps container that has been placed on a stable surface.
  4. Do not try to put the cap back on the needle.
  5. Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

High Point police say they don't get a lot of calls about this, but if you do live in the High Point area another resource you can use is the Urban Survivor's Union.

Call them at (336) 669-5543 and they'll come remove the needles littering your streets.

We also reached out to other local agencies to see how they handle these situations.

Greensboro police tell us nearly all of their officers carry the special containers.

Burlington police said some of their officers have them in their units.