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Surveillance cameras used to crackdown on illegal dumping across Houston

Thursday, June 20, 2013

An unsightly pile of trash in northeast Houston has been growing for months. It's just one of several illegal dump sites across the city. Neighbors hope a plan to install surveillance cameras will crack down on the problem.

It's not the first time the city has tried using surveillance cameras to monitor known hot spots for illegal dumping like one on Lockwood.

Some say it's an eye sore.

Neighbor Mildred Johnson said, "I see furniture, bedding, mattresses, trash in bags.'

Others call the mess a neighborhood nuisance.

"It's been a big problem from time to time," said neighbor Calvin Williams.

But no matter what you call illegal dumping, many people in neighborhoods across the city say it takes too long to clean up and they want the culprits to stop.

Neighbor Ann Tillis said, "It's frustrating for the simple reason, it's unhealthy, and it's unclean, and it brings on other problems such as rodents,"

Houston city council is now approving $250,000 toward the purchase of 25 surveillance cameras. Those cameras will be placed in illegal dumping hot spots across five council districts, specifically B, D, H, I and K.

Johnson said, "I don't want it to be something that we start and don't really act on it."

Some folks may remember when former city councilwoman Carol Mims Galloway spearheaded a similar illegal dumping surveillance program back in 2002. District B Councilman Jerry Davis sponsored this new effort to tackle the blight, and explained why he thinks they'll work this time.

"Here's the thing. It slowed down, and as I said earlier, we can't stop doing this process. It must continue," Davis said. "I understand that some people feel that cameras aren't the way, but in this day and age, we can't have a person sitting in a certain spot trying to stop people from dumping. It just doesn't happen."

HPD will monitor those surveillance cameras when they're finally installed. Anyone caught illegally dumping could face fines and jail time.

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