'Big brother' watches for illegally dumping

'Big brother' watches for illegally dumping
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - Shelby County installed new security cameras designed to catch people illegally dumping trash.

After the cameras went live, investigators had pictures of two suspects.

The hidden cameras caught two women dumping trash in Northaven. It's something that people living in the area say happens way too often.

"They're dumping beds, garbage, cat litter," Stephanie Mueller said. "I think it's [installing the security cameras] a good idea."

Investigators are already working out charges against the two female suspects.

The security cameras are pretty high tech. Shelby County Public Works Director Tom Needham says they can pick up the details needed to find the criminals.

"The color shots are so detailed you can pick up facial features, license numbers, identifying features on vehicles," Needham said.

To save power, the cameras are not on all the time, but that doesn't mean illegal dumpers can get away with their crimes by picking the right time of day.

"Whenever it detects motion, the camera turns on and takes a series of photographs," County engineer Gary Smith said.

Smith can then download the camera's still shots to a laptop and send the pictures immediately to investigators.

The next step is to activate a voice warning system. It would tell people entering the area that they're in an unauthorized location.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell Jr. says this is an important tool in the fight against neighborhood decay.

"This is an important addition to our fight against blight. The cameras are giving us 24-hour presence in areas known for illegal dumping. Additionally, we continually work closely with neighborhood leaders and concerned citizens to develop leads about problem areas," Mayor Luttrell said.

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