KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Dozens of neighbors are fed up and ready to take matters into their own hands to get rid of all the trash being dumped illegally in their own backyards.
A lot of illegal dumping in Kansas City happens on secluded streets or vacant lots without any proof to punish anyone.
Frustrated neighbors hope to catch suspects in the act with their own cameras.
Tires, busted televisions, trash and construction waste are routinely tossed in Kansas City neighborhoods.
“Toxic materials. Old paint. Lead. Asbestos. It’s a nightmare,” said Bill Drummond, Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood Association.
Neighbors like Drummond are taking a stand against illegal dumping and other crime in their community.
“Well, we had our fill of it. So, we decided to buy our own cameras,” explained Drummond.
Soon, nearly 30 cameras will be placed in eight midtown neighborhoods. It’s part of an effort called Public Safety Smart Technology or PSST.
“Like PSST, we are watching you,” said John James, Wendell Phillips Neighborhood Association President.
On Thursday night, the neighbors got some advice.
“There is a lot of lazy in dumping,” Alan Ashurst, Illegal Dumping Investigator.
Ashurst has hidden city owned trail cameras for years, to help gather digital evidence to help convict illegal dumpers.
“When you get tired of something, you put your shoulders together and pull yourself up by your boot straps and you make a difference. That’s what we are trying to do,” said James.
“Our cameras will be our snitches. Those cameras will automatically take a picture and submit it to a website that will be monitored by our neighborhood leaders, the police department and the city. The capability is there for people to get caught,” said James.
Neighbors will contact illegal dumping investigators and police if their cameras capture anyone committing a crime.
“It’s replacing helplessness with the determination to do something as a neighborhood,” said Drummond.
“It’s not that every square inch of the city is being patrolled. It’s just that the areas that use to be the hidden, the discreet, the hidey-holes, there is no hiding anymore. It’s being watched,” said Drummond.
Some of the new neighborhood owned cameras will be placed in plain sight as a deterrent.
Their trail cameras will be hidden and moved to illegal dumping hot spots or high crime areas.