Many areas of Vigo County are facing a significant roadside trash problem. But how do you enforce littering laws when no one is there to witness the crime? Officials will soon use cameras to curb illegal dumping.
Driving around Vigo County it’s hard not to find trash on the side of the road.
“I stay on campus mostly but when I do go off campus it’s a lot of, it’s not very clean,” Indiana State University Student Joshua Olin said.
“It needs to be cleaned up, you know, they need to devote more resources so that there’s not the one area of Terre Haute,” Indiana State University Student Bryce Vanderwall said.
“It’s really hard to get rid of those people causing this issue in the first place,” Indiana State University Student Malek Kharrat said.
Now county officials are turning to outdoor cameras to help catch those in the act.
“To me and like everybody else, it bothers us. Like, why would people do this? What kind of a person takes their trash and throws it out,” Vigo County Commissioner Brendan Kearns said.
Surveillance cameras will be placed around Terre Haute and Vigo County as part of a new plan to make illegal dumpers pay for their trashy behavior.
Not only do the new cameras have video surveillance they will also have audio and a tracking device if someone tries to steal the camera.
“Littering is a huge problem as it is in a lot of counties, but what we are trying to do is be proactive and find a way to control this in some form,” Kearns said.
Monday, Kearns and the Director of The Vigo County Solid Waste Management District brought the cameras for 69 dollars a piece.
Kearns says the cameras are cheaper than having to use the county highway department to dispose of the trash.
When trash like mattress or tires are thrown out the estimated cost of clean-up is around a thousand dollars
Indiana law allows fines between 500 dollars to 2,500 dollars. for throwing garbage where it doesn’t belong.
The idea of cameras has residents torn.
“I think it will be a good idea, but I don’t know how you would ever catch people,” Indiana State University Branden Warsinske said. “I mean you see their picture, but it will still be hard to catch them.”
“Every time one gets stolen or broken you have to pay for another one and you got to think about is catching the people littering worth that much money,” Olin said.
Local clean-up efforts have taken place throughout the county.
Officials now hope cameras will help bring a better quality of life.
“People are going out and doing something about it they are cleaning up what people are throwing out which is unfortunate,” Kearns said. “But it’s good to see so many people in the community that do care.”
The cameras will go into place on Thursday.
If you would like a camera in the area you are asked to contact the commissioner’s office.
The county is also working to restart a program that lets inmates pick up trash along roadways.