Illegal dumping is a problem in most cities around the world, and while some cities tout heavy fines to deter offenders from discarding things like old tires, mattresses, and household appliances, enforcing this law is quite difficult.
To catch culprits in the act, police officers or other city staff would have to physically watch known sites and wait to spot illegal dumping activity. Most cities, and offenders, know that’s an impossible task. Resources are limited and officers can’t be everywhere all the time.
New Orleans enforces illegal dumping with security technology
Recently, in City Council District E, New Orleans (NOLA) took an innovative approach to address illegal dumping. According to the district’s Councilwoman, Cyndi Nguyen, who takes a hands-on, no-nonsense role in revitalizing the community she serves, illegal dumping is an ongoing issue that she’s tackling head-on.
“We have been focusing on improving the quality of life in our district because we believe when people are confident about where they live and work, we’ll see greater investment in our community. Illegal dumping affects that quality of life, and that’s why we’re sending a very loud and clear message that District E is not a place where you can dump,” said councilwoman Nguyen.
The silver bullet for Nguyen’s East District? NOLA’s Sanitation Department and Real-Time Crime Center (RTCC) worked in partnership to install cameras at known dumping sites, but the cameras alone weren’t enough.
Bill Wood, IT Supervisor at the RTCC, also took a few minutes to set up an event-to-action rule in the Security Center platform which processes motion detection in a defined zone of the camera’s field of view, and then immediately takes a snapshot of the video and emails it to specific people.
Closing the case on illegal dumping in City Council District E in two days
In a recent case, this event-to-action led to the arrest of a repeat offender. This offender was previously convicted and sentenced to over three years for dumping 14,000 tires, but was released early from prison. Soon after his release, tires started piling up again. A 7th District Police Officer in New Orleans thought the offender might be back in the game and reached out to Bill Wood for some help.
“This offender used specific furniture moving trucks to load and dump debris in this very isolated area. We already had motion detection set up for the camera monitoring that area, so I was able to quickly go through the added notifications and see those trucks coming in and out. Then, I configured the system to send us an email with a snapshot of the video frame as soon as motion was detected. A couple of days later, I received an email with a picture of the specific moving truck and notified the officer. We called some units in the area, and they were able to pull over the offender. He later confessed to the illegal dumping at the station,” explained Bill Wood.
All snapshots and video evidence was securely shared with the New Orleans Police Department to complete their investigation. Bill Wood credits the security technology in helping them quickly close this case.
“Without this technology, finding these offenders comes down to chance or it could take a police officer hours and hours of investigative work. Instead, it took us minutes to set up the event-to-action in Security Center, and just about two days from the time we were notified about this offender to the time we were able to apprehend him. We love working with the Security Center platform. It’s very user friendly and helps us cut down that investigation time exponentially,” said Wood.
Strong collaboration keeps NOLA safe and clean
New Orleans currently has 20 cameras specifically dedicated to catching illegal dumping. All camera assemblies are portable which means the RTCC can move each camera to other locations, as the Sanitation Department, Councilwoman Nguyen, or her residents identify new dumping hotspots.
“This security technology certainly helps re-enforce the message I’m putting out there: that we can and will enforce illegal dumping offenses in District E. We also have this great partnership with the Sanitation Department, our local police department, and the RTCC, and that’s extending out into our community as well. I am working hard to get more residents and businesses involved in supporting these initiatives, because keeping our city safe and clean is a shared responsibility,” said Councilwoman Nguyen.
Building safer communities with Security Center
This is just one example of how New Orleans is using Security Center.
To find out how the RTCC is improving public safety and community partnership using the unified security platform, read the full case study below.
And if you want more information about how Genetec solutions can help your city, check out how Chicago built a strategic decision support center and reduced shootings by 70%.