City to illegal dumpers: 'Smile, you're on camera!'


by Joe Arnold

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Updated Friday, May 10 at 6:26 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It was Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's "Go ahead, make my day" moment.

"Illegal dumpers, you have been put on notice," the mayor warned at a Friday news conference announcing the installation of 19 new surveillance cameras to help catch illegal dumpers in the act, more than tripling the amount of cameras previously in use.

"It's about respect," Bernita Bennett, who lives near an illegal dump site in the West End's Parkland neighborhood, said. "It's about respecting other people's property."

Rotting garbage, furniture and what appears to be the remnants of a bathroom remodeling project litter the alley off 32nd Street.  Signs and warning of fines haven't stopped illegal dumpers.

"Can you imagine kids walking down the street to catch their bus, they look down the alley and this is what they see?" Councilwoman Attica Scott, (D) District 1, said.  "That's demoralizing.  It takes away hope."

Scott said the problem happens in neighborhoods with vacant and abandoned properties because the dumpers "feel like there is no one paying attention."

The cameras send the opposite message.  They are solar-powered, motion-activated, high resolution with long range sensors, tamper and bullet resistant.  The cameras are also portable so the city can move them to problem areas as needed.

"This camera can replace at least four of the other cameras at a less price," Pete Flood of the Metro Public Works Department said.

Spearheaded by 15th District Councilwoman Marianne Butler, the city's fight also includes impounding vehicles used by illegal dumpers, six so far.

The Illegal Dumping ordinance reads that Metro Louisville will hold the vehicle for six months up to 12 months. The vehicle will be held for six months and will not be released until there is proof that all fines for illegal dumping, cleanup costs and tow lot fees have been paid. Fines can range from $250 to $5,000 and clean up fees are a minimum of $250. The towing fee charged by LMPD is $112. There is also a $13 administrative cost. The impound lot charges $13 a day for storage. The initial first day cost is $138.

Butler said some new cameras have already been deployed on a trial basis.

"One of the places had a camera and it moved.  Dumping started again so the neighbors put up a sign and said, 'Smile, you're on camera.'  So people quit dumping again."

"People are just lazy," Scott said.  "You can go to at least three different places in the city of Louisville to dump your junk.  You don't have to come to somebody's alley."

If citizens witness any illegal dumping, they can report it by dialing MetroCall 311 or by visiting Forms are available there to report illegal dumping activity and identify illegal dumpers caught on camera as well as other information.