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Homeless Camps Attract Illegal Dumping and Blight

Homeless Camps Attract Illegal Dumping and Blight

Homelessness is becoming a concern in most parts of the United States.  A person without a stable home can be someone moving from motel to motel, or a car, or in some cases the streets.  Some people without homes have set up temporary shelters, like a tent or tarp.  There are even homeless communities, where there are groups of temporary shelters that can be seen in parks or lined up on streets.  While viewing a homeless camp is very sad, the conditions in these camps are hazardous, not just to the homeless but also to the surrounding community. 

According to a volunteer, who cleans up homeless camps, she finds illegal dumping and very hazardous conditions.  She has even come across dead bodies.   Trash, needles, and unsanitary disposal of waste is a breeding ground for rats, roaches, and other disease carrying critters.

Rats and other rodents carry dangerous diseases, which can be transmitted to human through contact with the feces or urine or breathing in airborne particles. Many people have heard about the Bubonic plague that killed hordes of people in the Middle Ages.  The Bubonic plague is just one of the life-threatening diseases that rodents can carry with them, which can infect a human if the rodent’s flea bites the human.

Within the piled-up trash, these rats multiply and invade the neighboring residents and businesses, causing a community panic. While this problem is very complex, and strategy requires legislation and empathy, there needs to be tools in place to help keep the homeless community from setting up a camp especially near parks and areas where children play. One such tool should be a portable camera that deters the activity and can be easily moved around. 

Portable cameras will help the officers and volunteers who are involved in these communities, while the legislators design a permanent solution.

Illinois’ Proactive Illegal-Dumping Platform

Illinois’ Proactive Illegal-Dumping Platform

Municipalities can learn more than just one good idea from Illinois’ Illegal Dumping programs that have been recently adopted.  For starters they have a statewide task-force comprised of the following programs:

  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
  • The Office of the Illinois Attorney General
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Along with various law enforcement authorities, they have implemented new legislation to tackle the problem of illegal dumping.  This legislation, termed the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, prohibits the open dumping of waste; criminalizing illegal dumping as either a Class “A” misdemeanor or a Class “4” felony for repeat offenders.  The interagency collaboration the State of Illinois is currently employing is an important step in deterring illegal dumping.

In addition to coordinating agency efforts, Illinois is being proactive in educating the public on the consequences of improperly disposed waste. The means of which include public service announcements and hotlines, enabling citizens to act vigilantly and to discourage illegal dumping in their neighborhoods, statewide. This fact, coupled with the law enforcement’s willingness to investigate and prosecute offenders, as well as the publicizing of arrests and successful convictions — are each proactive steps in the right direction.

In addition to Illinois’ prosecutor’s determination to stomp out illegal dumping, the city of Chicago is utilizing resource tools to stop the problem.  New laws and stiff fines, in accumulation with the well-placed illegal dumping cameras at common dump sites to capture evidence-footage, are all assisting prevention of cases in illegal dumping.

The trick to vigorous deterrence of illegal dumping throughout a state, like Illinois, can be summed up in three, key steps:

  • Implementing tough legislation against illegal dumping
  • Taking proactive measures to ensure the law is being enforced
  • Installing active methods, such as illegal dumping cameras to prosecute and prevent
Combat Illegal Dumping Using Social Media

Combat Illegal Dumping Using Social Media

Have you ever thought Social Media could help stop illegal dumping?

Today’s quickly evolving and advanced technology is currently becoming adapted to help solve crimes worldwide. Through the use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, many community leaders and law enforcement entities are using this new technology to combat growing problems like illegal dumping and vandalism. Well placed surveillance cameras are catching these illegal acts against our communities and aiding in the identification of suspects as well as providing footage for evidence in courtroom cases. These cameras also have the added benefit of helping to deter the re-occurrence of these common crimes.

With the benefit of social media’s large audience, prosecutors now have more tools than ever at their disposal to vigilantly pursue perpetrators of illegal dumping and results have proven that these programs are working proactively well.

A case in point is the city of Youngstown, that has seen cases of illegal dumping drop by a record 40 per cent so far, and this number is climbing. Mayor Jamael Tito Brown’s “get tough on illegal dumping” initiative utilizes new Ohio legislation which features mandatory minimum fines and potential jail time for more serious offenders convicted of violating illegal dumping and anti-littering laws. With the new and revised statutes, city prosecutors can no longer turn a “blind-eye” in regards to those suspected of the crime of illegal dumping.

In addition to the new legislation, the city of Youngstown has also implemented a network of illegal dumping cameras designed to both identify suspects who are caught dumping illegally as well as deter those who seek out dump sites to unlawfully dispose of their solid waste. These photos are then displayed on Youngstown’s Facebook and other social media sites to help identify the suspects in question, as well as educate the public on the consequences of performing this heinous act.

All cities should use Social Media to combat Illegal Dumping.