Illegal dumping has become such an issue for Houston, city leaders and the police department are teaming up crack down.
Mayor Annise Parker announced the plan with Councilman Jerry Davis on Monday morning.
With a pile of junk behind them at 1500 Maxine Street, the mayor explained how a new $250,000 program will help. Parker says the city will put up hidden security cameras in neighborhoods that have had reported issues with illegal dumping as well as in industrial communities on the east side.
"The cameras are just our first step into irritating illegal dumping," Councilman Davis said. "We are sending a clear message to anybody thinking about dumping in our neighborhoods. We are watching; we will find you and we will prosecute you."
Mayor Parker said, "Residents are tired of it and should not have to tolerate it any longer... Let's catch some criminals."
Residents who live near Clinton Park on Mississippi Street say the problem is so bad, it's driving property values down.
"As fast as people clean it up, it's right back out. It'll be back out there again tomorrow," one neighbor explained.
City leaders say the police department will monitor the cameras and then track who is doing it. The mayor hopes the cameras will help generate 50 to 80 cases each month.
If caught, suspected illegal dumpers could have to pay a fine or even face jail time.
HPD will be compiling the following information:
- Number of violations
- Number of people involved
- Types of arrests & charges
- Types of trash being dumped (garbage, tree trimmings, furniture, tires, etc.)
- Pounds, volume, or cubic feet of items dumped
- Interviews with the suspects to determine why they dumped at this location, have they dumped before, do they know about the COH sites for legal elimination of items
Information will be gathered for the purpose of deciding whether or not the program should be expanded.