|A man is caught dumping trash at an illegal site|
by a hidden camera purchased by the
Juneau Parks and Recreation Department
Illegally dumping more than a square foot of litter is a minor offense in the Southeast Alaska city and borough, punishable by a $200 fine. Hopkins, whose story is a primer on how to do this kind of community reporting, writes: "The people cited so far look like any cross section of Alaskans. Guys in ball caps and hoodies driving big pickups. A man in a Land Rover. An SUV full of young women. The Daily News, through a public records request, obtained footage involving all the closed littering cases originating between April 9 and May 15. All five people shown in the footage had paid their fines as of June 12, according to the Juneau Police Department. Littering falls under Anchorage public-nuisance laws with fines ranging from $50 to $300 for a first offense and $200 to $600 for a second offense."
Other towns and counties around the country began experimenting with litter cams earlier this year, at about the same time as Juneau, Hopkins finds. The Delaware Natural Resources Department has used hidden cameras to catch litterers since 2009. County supervisors of Henry County, Va., population 54,000, voted this year to approve $5,000 for the purchase of game cameras to catch people illegally dumping trash.,saying the detritus is bad for tourism, bad for business. Meanwhile, notes Hopkins, the trend is growing. Lorain County, Ohio, sheriffs recently bought solar-powered litter cameras. And local news reports indicate that litterers better be on the lookout for trash cams in Stephenville, Newfoundland, and in the Municipal District of Foothills in southern Alberta.