Cameras help authorities catch litterers

By Brandon Richards - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – Calcasieu Parish officials are expanding their use of surveillance cameras in catching litterers.

The parish actually started using the cameras to crack down on litterers about three years ago.

The cameras are hidden at various "hot spots" known to be popular dumping grounds for litterers.

Officials plan on purchasing more cameras this year.

"The littering problem here in Calcasieu Parish is much the same as a lot of communities," said Jason Barnes, the parish's special programs coordinator, who helps to oversee the anti-litter campaign. "Litter is just a problem in this area."

There is no data for how many people have been successfully prosecuted because of the cameras, but officers did issue more than 75 tickets for littering last year. About 35 cases were brought before a district judge, according to Barnes.

Punishment for littering includes fines and community service. If someone refuses to pay the fine within six weeks, they can have their driver's license suspended.

"There are a lot of people in our community who just have no regard for our environment or the area in which we live," said Barnes.

Barnes said he wishes more people would see littering as more than a petty crime. He said littering can have economic consequences, recalling how the City of Monroe lost out on a major jobs deal because the city was seen as too trashy for a company that was looking to move there.

"We have to get tough on litterers," said Barnes.  "It's important for litterers to know…at some point law enforcement is going to get you."

If you see someone littering, you can call the anti-litter hotline at 493-5487.

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