LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Surveillance cameras meant to curb illegal dumping in Louisville's neighborhoods have caught two people over the past year.
Last May, Metro government installed the 19 cameras at a total cost of $60,800. Metro Council members this week questioned whether the cameras were effective, while Mayor Greg Fischer's administration said the extra surveillance had helped deter crime.
"Once the camera is placed, people see it and the dumping just stops," said Harold Adams, a spokesman for Metro Public Works. "It's really having a large effect that doesn't show up in the citation numbers."
Nine Metro Council members allocated money for the cameras through their Neighborhood Development Funds last year. Mayor Greg Fischer at the time said it was response to a "true quality of life issue" in many West Louisville neighborhoods.
Public Works can move the cameras to the worst areas for illegal dumping. Some residents on Hale Avenue said they wanted a camera in their area, even as they questioned whether it would lead to arrests.
"There's not a lot we can do. We can't sit vigilant 24/7 trying to watch somebody," said Hezzy Jewell, a block watch captain. "Especially if you catch two or three people (with a camera), the word will be out in a hurry."
Metro did put a camera in an alley near Hale Avenue, but neighbors said people still use it as a dumping ground. Friday, there were piled-up branches, but neighbors said it's often used for trash.
"It's just like if someone came into your house to dump trash," Jewell said. "All if it is frustrating and annoying to us as a community."
Councilman Rick Blackwell, a Democrat who helped provide money for the cameras through his Neighborhood Development Fund, questioned whether the cameras were working appropriately. In a budget hearing this week, Public Works administrators told him that crews had to climb up to the cameras to retrieve video, instead of downloading it as Blackwell expected.
Since installing the cameras, Metro has also impounded 10 cars used for illegal dumping. Many of the busts came not because of the surveillance, but after concerned neighbors called authorities.
People who see something suspicious should call Metro Call, or 311.
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