CINCINNATI – Just across the street from Oyler Elementary School in Lower Price Hill, piles of garbage sit behind a fence.
That’s not what Samba El-Kone wants to see in his community.
“People keep dumping and it’s destroying the neighborhood,” he said.
The debris piles aren’t just a nuisance for residents who live nearby. Cincinnati taxpayers are paying thousands of dollars to clean up illegal dumping throughout the city.
“We work hard, and we spend our tax dollars for people to clean this stuff up,” El-Kone said.
But the city is using a new weapon to catch illegal dumpers: hidden cameras. Some have already caught them in the act.
A worker for Kestner Waggoner Restoration was convicted of illegally dumping in an empty lot on Renner Street. The general manager claimed he wasn’t aware it was happening.
Another camera caught employees of Everdry Waterproofing pulling their company dump truck up to a vacant lot in North Fairmount and dumping a load of concrete and rubble.
Mark Antrobus works for Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and uses hidden wildlife cameras to catch crimes like illegal dumping.
After Everdry was fined $2,500, and their employees $110 each plus community service, Antrobus asked them if they learned a lesson.
“He said, ‘Yes, the one thing I learned is I’ll look for cameras now before I do any dumping,’” Antrobus said.
Everdry General Manager Charles Begley said the company does not condone illegal dumping. They have created a new policy that anyone caught illegally dumping will be terminated immediately, though the workers previously caught still have their jobs.