Smile! Illegal dumpers now on city cameras - KCTV5

Smile! Illegal dumpers now on city cameras

Posted: Updated:
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Kansas City is cracking down on illegal dumping by turning to surveillance cameras.

"The people who are doing all this illegal dumping need to be held accountable," said Michael Schumacher, who oversees Kansas City's neighborhood and community services department. "You name it. They dump it."

The city spends about $1.5 million in tax dollars a year cleaning up illegal dumping.

Surveillance video captured a man bringing construction debris and dumping the materials in broad daylight at 33rd Street and Oakley Avenue.

The city has installed several cameras in some sites that get more dumping. Altogether, the city has installed 40 cameras and plans to add more. The cameras cost just $175.

Some areas have had signs installed alerting dumpers to the cameras but other areas don't have the warnings.

Typically, it is difficult to prosecute illegal dumping because of the lack of witnesses. The cameras are changing that.

Schumacher said one camera caught half a dozen illegal dumps in a week. He said a significant problem is contractors who are paid to haul away junk and then just dump it illegally.

"That contractor may charge you $300 in landfill fees. That's his cost if he disposes of it properly," Schumacher said. "But if that debris ends up somewhere else then he's not incurring that cost but you're paying for it."

Those caught will be paying for it. The fine could be up to $1,000 and a judge could impose jail time.

Assistant City Prosecutor Todd Wilcher told the Kansas City Star since the city began installing the cameras a few weeks ago he already has had one guilty plea. And he expects the cases to pile up as more cameras catch people dumping everything from mattresses to bags stuffed with garbage.

KCTV5's reporting partner said the city is using a $15,000 federal crime-fighting grant to pay for the new program.

If you suspect illegal dumping in your area, call Kansas City's 311 action line.

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