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City hopes hidden cameras can help stop illegal dumping

Monday, September 16, 2013
City leaders hope new hidden cameras will help identify crooks who are using Houston neighborhoods as their dumping grounds Illegal dumping causes problems in Houston

Illegal dumping is a chronic problem across Houston. Now, city leaders are hoping some new hidden cameras can help catch the culprits.

Francisco Partida says he is stuck looking at eyesores from his porch every day.

"Oh it gets bad, it gets bad around here," Partida said.

Piles of illegally-dumped garbage are on almost every corner near Partida's Fifth Ward home.

"Sofas, chairs, couches, book cases," he said.

According to neighbors, you name it and unknown crooks are dumping it.

"It's a big issue because it makes the neighborhood look bad," neighbor Denise McKenzie said.

McKenzie calls the trash a nuisance in her northeast neighborhood, and she wants it stopped.

"It's a hot mess, you know? They are just making every block a dumpster," she said. "Across the street, here, around the corner, down the street -- it looks a hot mess."

City leaders are hoping new surveillance cameras can help crack down on the culprits behind illegal dumping. Mayor Annise Parker and Councilman Jerry Davis announced Monday that the city is using $250,000 to install and monitor cameras in undisclosed locations that have become hot spots for the crime.

"These cameras, as we put them up, we will have the capability to cite people, and in some cases arrest people," Davis said.

This is not the first time the City of Houston has tried illegal dumping cameras. Past projects ended when funding ran out.

"If they are going to do that and act on it and really stand on it, I'm all for it," McKenzie said. "Do it. Put the cameras in and do it."

The camera pilot program will be tested over the next three months. The Illegal Dumping Task Force is hoping the cameras will catch between 50 and 80 violators per month.

We'll have more on this story on ABC13 Eyewitness News this afternoon. Find Demond on Facebook at ABC13DemondFernandez or on Twitter at @demondfernandez

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