By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN CITY, N.J. – Camden City has launched a new initiative that aims to curb illegal dumping in the community. Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the federal government, the Camden County Police Department has purchased more than 100 security cameras that will be strategically placed around the city in common dumping areas to catch perpetrators in the act and prosecute them for their crimes, according to a press release from the county.
“Illegal dumping is an ongoing issue in our community and everyone who lives, works or travels here has to deal with its detrimental consequences,” County Commissioner Jon Young stated. “People, who oftentimes are traveling from outside Camden, are illegally dumping trash, construction materials, hazardous waste and other harmful items that not only contribute blight in neighborhoods but also threaten the health and safety of people who call this city home. These cameras will give our police department another tool in the fight against illegal dumping, hopefully leading to more apprehension and punishment of these violators.”
The Eye in the Sky System, state-of-the art security cameras that come equipped with license plate readers at active illegal dumping sites, will improve the police department’s ability to not only catch the dumpers and bring them to justice, but to also alleviate blight and improve the quality of life for residents.
Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen said that illegal dumping is not only an environmental hazard, but it also costs the city millions of dollars.
“Illegal dumping is unsightly, unhealthy, an environmental challenge and also leads to blight and compounds public safety concerns within Camden’s neighborhoods,” Carstarphen said. “Many of those caught and prosecuted for dumping debris are from outside the City of Camden. The City expends roughly $4.7 million each year on the cleanup and disposal of illegal dumping debris. That’s an average of 9,500 tons of debris, including trash, tires, and electronics, are collected from illegal dumping sites each year.”
According to recent data, there are currently 50 active dumping sites within the city’s limits, according to the county. By infiltrating these dumping hot spots with high quality cameras, Camden can be better able to enforce illegal dumping ordinances and bring criminal dumpers to justice thus taking an enormous step toward eliminating the practice of illegal dumping altogether.
State Assemblyman Bill Moen, who sponsored a bill that was subsequently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, said that the new law gives cities across the state more resources to combat illegal dumping.
“Illegal dumping has been a major issue across New Jersey, specifically here in the city of Camden,” Moen stated. “This law not only increases the penalties for transporting or disposing of solid waste by doubling the fines that were in place, but it also allows local governments to recoup their costs for clean-up as well as any attorney’s fees that they incurred by prosecuting the offenders. Illegal dumping offenders: this is your warning, we are coming for you.”
The objective for the project is to use the camera network to address public health and safety incidents in real time and to prevent such incidents before they happen. This initiative will limit the long-term and short-term effects of illegal dumping that negatively impact the residents who call this city home.
Congressman Donald Norcross said that federal funding will further help Camden fight illegal dumping.
“Illegal dumping is wrong and dangerous for our communities,” Norcross stated. “It’s inexcusable that unknown companies are using Camden City as their trash can. Many of these groups come from out of town, and likely out of state, and dump debris illegally in our neighborhoods. It’s unsafe, it’s unhealthy, and it’s totally unacceptable. The funding I secured in the federal appropriations bill will help establish a network of cameras to catch perpetrators in the act so we can hold these companies accountable.”
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