Illegal dumping is a problem in most cities around the world but enforcing laws to prevent it can be quite difficult and resource-intensive. To catch culprits in the act, law enforcement or other city staff have to physically watch known sites and wait to spot illegal dumping activity. Most city officials know that's an impossible task, as officers can't be everywhere all the time, and offenders take full advantage of that reality.

The City Council District E in New Orleans decided to address illegal dumping another way. District E Councilwoman, Cyndi Nguyen and her team, working in partnership with New Orleans’ Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) and Sanitation Department, has begun installing a network of cameras at known dumping sites. All cameras are portable so they can be moved to new dumping hot spots as needed. In addition, the city is working with a unified security platform from Genetec called Security Center that the RTCC was already using to manage citywide public safety improvement initiatives.

“This security technology certainly helps re-enforce the message I’m putting out there: that we can and will enforce illegal dumping offenses in District E. We also have this great partnership with the Sanitation Department, our local Police Department, and the RTCC, and that’s extending out into our community as well. I am working hard to get more residents and businesses involved in supporting these initiatives, because keeping our city safe and clean is a shared responsibility,” said Councilwoman Nguyen.

To help monitor illegal dumping, the Crime Center’s IT department also set up an event-to-action rule in the Security Center platform to processes motion detection in a defined zone of the camera’s field of view. As soon as motion is detected, the system bookmarks it and notifies staff so they can evaluate the situation and determine if collection of the debris is warranted. The system also takes a snapshot of the video and emails it to designated personnel on the team so they can identify and investigate any potential dumping perpetrators, and take appropriate action.

In a recent case, this event-to-action led to the arrest of a repeat offender who had previously been convicted and sentenced for dumping 14,000 tires. All snapshots and video evidence were securely shared with the New Orleans Police Department to enable them to quickly identify the perpetrator and complete their investigation.