Illegal Dumping: A Growing and Dangerous Crime

It has been a persistent problem for property owners: secluded fields, alleys and private dumpsters are all susceptible to illegal dumping. In many cases, this isn’t just an annoyance—it’s dangerous.

Outside of barricading your property against all entry, field surveillance systems and general surveillance equipment may be the only worthwhile tools for stopping this practice. Being able to implement surveillance equipment and knowing how to use the information gathered is vital.

Dumping in a Secluded Area

Most property owners are concerned by illegal dumping in a secluded area—the slow, inexorable process of strangers turning valuable property into an oversized garbage bin. There are a few types of property that may be particularly susceptible to dumping:

  • Abandoned buildings
  • Fields
  • Waterways
  • Wooded areas

Your best solution is deterrence; people dump in these secluded places because they believe they won’t be caught. Highly visible surveillance systems and posted warnings will go a long way. Be sure you use a few backup hidden cameras in case your equipment is vandalized, or place your cameras in visible-but-unreachable areas.

Depending on how much you want to invest, when the dumping is occurring and where your property is located, you may or may not be able to use live feeds via IP cameras. Regardless, you’ll want a surveillance system that responds to motion—recording empty properties non-stop is a waste of bandwidth, not to mention impractical if you’re recording locally.

Dumping Near a Business

If you have a problem with dumping near an active place of business, you should approach the problem much differently from the issue of illegal dumping in a secluded area.

Places you might see illegal dumping near a business include:

  • Alleys
  • Secluded open spaces
  • Dumpsters
  • The street in front of your business

Each of these areas comes with its own risks, challenges and solutions. If the culprits live or work nearby, a simple ”Please stop dumping on my property” sign might go a long way, especially if it’s backed by a “This area is being monitored by cameras” warning. A hidden camera may prove useful in such cases.

Also, the use of surveillance equipment is quite different when you’re dealing with dumping near an active place of business—you might opt to treat the infraction as you would any other security concern, with an immediate response to live footage.

That being said, DO NOT confront illegal dumpers alone. People behave unreasonably when they’re caught breaking the law. Tempers can flare and you or someone else might end up hurt.

Risks to Consider

Not every property owner takes illegal dumping seriously—perhaps the property in question is abandoned, or the dumping is not an inconvenience. However, owners should understand that allowing dumping without a license to discard certain forms of waste can carry legal penalties.

There are also health and safety risks associated with illegal dumping, especially if the waste in question involves hazardous materials. With that in mind, it's in every property owner's best interests to stop illegal dumping, even if they've not yet seen any harm; between criminal and civil liability and threats to life and limb, there's no excuse for letting the problem fester.

General Considerations

Visible cameras deter bad behavior, but also warn tenacious criminals that they should hide their faces, avoid the cameras or even damage the surveillance equipment. Hidden cameras don’t deter as efficiently, but also aren’t as susceptible to being avoided, getting destroyed or tipping off perpetrators.

Weigh your needs carefully. Also, consider a compromise, such as using hidden cameras with visible warnings or mixing hidden and visible cameras in the same system.

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