Dayton beefs up efforts to catch litterbugs, illegal dumpers

The city of Dayton is adding new surveillance cameras to try to catch more litterbugs and people who illegally dump trash.

Since 2013, city and Montgomery County staff have monitored more than 70 sites around Dayton that were identified as potential “hot spots” for the criminal activity.

The new cameras will help combat a crime that costs taxpayers, reduces property values, pollutes the environment and poses health risks, said John Parker, city of Dayton’s division manager for waste collection.

“There’s real cost to these clean-ups and pick-ups,” Parker said.

There have been 242 illegal dumping investigations since 2012, and more than half led to criminal convictions, the city said.

“This is important to the quality of neighborhoods,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said.

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Illegal dumping is putting solid waste at a location other than a lawful landfill, transfer station or designated collection point.

It is against the law to dispose of trash, yard waste, appliances and other materials on land without the permission of the property owner, the city said.

Common types of dumping include construction materials, yard waste, scrap tires, mattresses and other junk.

Illegal dumping is a problem because it costs taxpayers in removal costs, lowers surrounding property values, contributes to blight and encourages additional dumping activities, Parker said.

“Once there’s a site that’s a hot spot for illegal dumping, folks continue to dump at that site over and over and over again,” he said.

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Illegal dumping also can contaminate waterways and poses health risks, such as attracting rodents and insects, such as disease-carrying mosquitoes, Parker said.

The city currently has 36 surveillance cameras and is monitoring 20 dump sites. The city plans to add more cameras by the end of the year, at a cost of about $600 each.

Cameras are monitored by city staff, who review tens of thousands of photographs taken by its cameras of potential dumping activities. City personnel and Montgomery County Sheriff’s environmental officers also regularly check dump sites in person to look for other evidence of the crime, Parker said.

Staff also routinely change camera locations, camera angles and the number of cameras at sites to try to better catch litterbugs.

“Improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods is a high priority for the city,” said Fred Stovall, Dayton’s director of public works.

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Illegal dumping is a third-degree misdemeanor, which can carry a punishment of six months in jail and a $500 fine, said Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Robbie Jackson, who is an environmental enforcement officer.

Another crime called open dumping involves the illegal disposal of tires, paints, chemicals, oils and other materials, Jackson said. Dumping even one tire is a felony in the state of Ohio, officials said.

Open dumping is an unclassified felony that can result in two to four years in prison and a $25,000 fine, Jackson said.

People can report illegal dumping by calling (937) 333-4800 or by calling (937) 225-4357.

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