Illegal dumpers, be warned: City cracks down on trash violators with surveillance cameras

Pat Loeb
December 18, 2018 - 6:44 pm
The Philadelphia Streets Department is putting surveillance cameras up on streets where trash is illegally dumped.

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Streets Department has installed surveillance cameras up on streets where trash is illegally dumped. 

City officials announced the new tool Tuesday in an area notorious for so-called "short-dumping," and they promised to prosecute those they catch on camera.

Brenda Kennedy is the block captain on Percy Street, a narrow road lined with tidy rowhouses. But around the corner, where railroad tracks cross Venango Street, black trash bags lay scattered about; sometimes old furniture and tires show up.

"Do you know how bad that is when you see a raccoon or a rat coming across the railroad tracks to go through trash? You ain't gonna walk that way," she said.

So Kennedy was thrilled when her city Councilman Darrell Clarke dropped by three weeks ago with news that help was coming.

"Here we are three weeks later, this same mess," he said. "This is ridiculous. There is no excuse to do this other than the disrespect that they're showing for our communities."

This time, Clarke came with other city officials to unveil the camera mounted on a utility pole between Kennedy's street and the illegal dump site. It's one of 10 cameras the city has installed, and it plans to add 100 a year — and act on what the cameras capture.

The Philadelphia Streets Department is putting surveillance cameras up on streets where trash is illegally dumped.
Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

"I'm excited that we're doing this," Clarke added. "It's time, sending a signal."

Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams noted the city spends tens of millions of dollars a year cleaning up trash left illegally on roadsides and in neighborhoods.

"It's about time that we stopped just cleaning it up and started holding people accountable," he said. "We have people who come out here and dump and then leave the City of Philadelphia like it's their own personal trash can."

"It's good to know my city officials care about the neighborhood they're in," Kennedy said. "This has made me really happy."