Investigators are using hidden cameras to catch people illegally dumping their trash on Kansas City streets and the covert operation is catching hundreds of illegal dumpers in the act.
An area on the city's eastside is just one example of how disgusting the streets can get. Trash sits in its streets and stretches for blocks. It shows the importance of the investigators' job as they search for the people responsible.
Every morning investigators with the Code Enforcement Department gear up to find people who dump their trash illegally in Kansas City, MO. When they find a suspect, they head right to the person's front door to issue them a fine
"This is probably one of the worst stretches of road that I've seen in a while," said investigator Alan Ashurst. "This is as nasty as it gets."
Once an illegal dumping site is found, investigators get to work searching for clues.
"Anything that has evidence. A name, address, phone numbers are great," Ashurst said.
Undercover cameras, like the one hidden under brush, are helping investigators quickly open and shut cases.
"When you've got a good solid case it is indisputable evidence," Ashurst said.
The investigators have 19 cameras placed in 10 locations around the city that capture snapshots of illegal dumpers. The camera locations are constantly changing.
"This year so far we've written 50 tickets. That's just January and February," said investigator Michael Orr.
Investigators say despite using cameras for years and signs warning of up to $1,000 fines, by one specific sign there are two blocks worth of trash.
"The city is watching," Orr said.
Since the cameras were installed in 2011, the city has issued 284 summons and $67,000 in fines.
"A lot of our busiest dump sites have slowed down a lot. I'd like to think that is because of the work we've done," Ashurst said.
The investigators won't reveal the specific locations of the cameras because 14 have been stolen. Officials work hard to hide the cameras, and change the locations regularly.
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