Criminologists have advocated understanding ‘crime as pollution’ to argue for market based crime control policy initiatives that mirror pollution control policy initiatives. However, the concept of crime as pollution is misleading, and threatens to give rise to misguided policy initiatives in efforts to control street crime. Crime as pollution risks reproducing and reinforcing race, ethnic, and class-based inequalities that are characteristic of pollution control responses. Alternatively, we suggest that criminologists adopt an understanding of ‘pollution as crime.’ Pollution as crime recognizes the importance of previous well-established criminological theory as well as interdisciplinary work on pollution. Pollution as crime is a more promising direction for criminal justice research and policy by responding to the excessive forms of victimization pollution generates.