HOUSTON -- City council member Jerry Davis wants the city to buy 25 new surveillance cameras to help prevent illegal dumping.
Illegal dumping is a serious problem around Houston. Although it’s uncommon in middle-income and upper-class neighborhoods, it’s all too evident in lower income neighborhoods where empty lots become breeding grounds for blight.
City taxpayers spend more than a million dollars a year in cleanup fees.
“We have people that dump and there are no consequences,” Davis said.
Currently, Houston police only have 12 cameras that monitor dumping hot spots.
“If we can add additional cameras we will have more information the district attorney can use to prosecute," Davis said.
Kashmere Gardens Elementary School principal Kristi Rangel believes it will discourage dumpers. A mound of trash is piled in a drainage ditch along Lockwood Drive just one block away from her school.
"This is my drive to and from work,” Rangel said, pointing to the illegal dump. “Ninety-nine percent of my students walk to and from school, and this is in their neighborhood."
Michael Alexander has lived in Kashmere Gardens his entire life. He is bothered by the stuff people dump on the streets.
“It hurts our property values,” Alexander said.
Davis proposes spending $250,000 on the cameras, and another $120,000 a year on salaries for new city workers to monitor the cameras.
Under the plan drawn up by Davis, the cameras would be specifically dedicated to five council districts with unusually severe dumping problems.
His proposal is one of dozens of amendments to the city budget proposed by Houston council members. The budget is scheduled for debate by the mayor and city council next Wednesday.