Hidden Cameras Used In Springfield To Identify Illegal Dumpers
The largest city in western Massachusetts is using hidden cameras to curb illegal dumping.
During the past 18 months, citations were mailed to 44 people who were identified as the registered owners of vehicles photographed by hidden cameras placed at locations in Springfield that had become popular dumping sites for old mattresses, furniture, and plastic bags filled with trash.
A list of the people who were delivered citations was released by the office of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno along with a sample of photos taken by the motion-activated cameras.
"What you see on this list is a lot of people from out-of-town," said Sarno in an interview. "And shame on them. It is absolutely dispicable what they are doing."
The locations being monitored for illegal dumping were not disclosed.
Sarno said the cameras are moved from time-to-time to areas where illegal dumping has been discovered.
During an interview, Sarno issue a warning to illegal dumpers: "We are going to catch you, we are going to fine you and I am going to make an example of you too."
Springfield has a bulk items pick up program. For a fee of $8 per item, the city’s Department of Public Works will haul away furniture, mattresses and box springs, appliances, large toys, and tires.
Disposing of trash in a city park carries a $300 fine. Sarno said stiffer fines may be needed to further discourage dumping.
Some people believe the problem of litter and blight in Springfield is getting worse.
Russell Seelig, of Concerned Citizens for Springfield, said people are not going to visit or live in a city that appears unkempt.
"There is an economic benefit to the city if the city is more attractive," said Seelig. "People would be interested in doing business here and moving here and that would boost property values as well."
For several months, members of the organization who come from different neighborhoods in the city, have been meeting with some City Councilors to discuss how to keep Springfield clean.
"The city can do code enforcement for private property owners that under a city ordiance are required to pick up litter three feet out onto the street," said Seelig.
Springfield City Councilor Marcus Williams, who chairs the Maintenance and Development Committee, said he plans to hear from several city agencies including DPW, Parks, and Code Enforcement.
"This needs to be a coordinated effort to clean up Springfield's streets," said Williams.
The citizens group is also working with the Springfield Public Schools to develop an anti-litter education campaign.