The City of Dallas is touting a record year for illegal dumping arrests after the installation of hidden cameras that have allowed investigators to catch criminals in the act.
As of July 1, the Dallas Marshal’s office had arrested 197 people for illegal dumping during the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which ends September 30. The previous year saw 142 illegal dumping arrests, according to a city news release.
Dallas has branded its campaign against illegal dumping RealTrashTalk.
The single biggest reason for the increased enforcement – dozens of hidden cameras positioned at chronic dumping sites.
“When I got into this in 2004, we literally did physical surveillance of sites. So we’d have a problem area, we’d have to go hide in the woods, sometimes sit in a lawn chair in the woods, waiting for a dumper to appear,” said Deputy Chief Paul Hansen, of the Dallas Marshal’s office, about the advantage the cameras provide.
In addition to evidence of the dumpers caught on camera, Code Compliance received 5,000 reports of illegal dumping this fiscal year to date, according to a city news release, and are on track to hit more than 6,700 reports, an 18 percent increase.
The latest news from around North Texas.
The offenders often target rural, or industrial, stretches of road and empty out everything from household garbage to junked furniture to waste from construction sites.
“They know there’s no real neighbor to watch out,” Chief Hansen said about the dumpers choosing sites that are off the beaten path. “There are not a lot of cars driving by to see what happens. So they’re looking for a place where they can dump for free.”
“In the past six months, the City has crossed eight chronic sites off its list of 62 chronic illegal dump sites in Dallas, bringing the number down to 54,” a city news release noted.