Oakland Installs Cameras to Crack Down on Illegal Trash Dumping – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (KPIX) – Oakland is turning to high-resolution cameras to try to solve the huge problem of illegal trash dumping. The public works hopes the cameras will give them the proof they need to ticket and deter repeat offenders.
Each camera system is mounted up high on a light pole. Each camera system has several lenses pointing in different directions.
The city installed 10 cameras at known illegal dumping hot spots in east and west Oakland.
“Some no longer call it Oakland, they call it ‘trash land,'” said City Councilman Noel Gallo on Friday while introducing surveillance technology.
“First, you’re hurting the environment. Second, (you’re) making people feel not safe, ”said Paige Din, a fifth grader who attends Community School for Creative Education at the corner of International Boulevard and 21st Avenue.
The 11-year-old student was familiar with illegal dumping. She said debris blocked some of the sidewalks on the way to her charter school.
“I’ve seen mattresses piling up, couches and other stuff that people just do not want. They just dump it there, ”Din said. “People are hurting me and not only me but everybody else.”
The founder and executive director of the charter school, Dr. Ida Oberman, said an alley – Solano Way near 21st Avenue where students are dropped off and picked up – is a hot spot for illegal dumping.
“There would be three mattresses here, some broken baby carriage toppled over, some broken chairs with legs up, big trash bags that are sometimes dropped off by restaurants and, then, on the ground, condoms and syringes,” Dr. Oberman said.
She said the school removes the junk only to find more days later.
Oakland Public Works spokesman Sean Maher said that, in the last fiscal year, workers picked up nearly 15 million pounds of trash dumped on city streets.
That’s why the department is turning to cameras to catch people in the act. Public works has six environment-enforcement officers who will investigate, review surveillance footage and ticket people with fines of up to $ 1,000 a day.
One of the 10 cameras is located at the corner of Solano Way and 21st Avenue. The city said they will rotate the cameras among 25 known hot spots.
“You know where this one is today but we’re not telling you where the other nine are going,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf.
“These cameras will be helpful. Ten is not enough but this is a good start, ”said councilor Gallo.
Some people questioned how the city will enforce and go after the offenders.
Even before the installation of the cameras, the city said it issued 1,399 tickets to people caught illegally dumping trash since July 2020. So far, only 296 tickets have been paid.
For the people who do not pay, the city said the outstanding tickets will eventually go to collection agencies.
“No cameras are turnkey but a camera is an incredibly valuable strategic step,” Dr. Oberman said.
This pilot camera program will last for six months. If successful, the public works department will ask the city council to approve and fund more cameras.
Public works said Oakland police can review the footage if the cameras capture things like shootings and homicides.