LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's a crime scene like you've never seen before.
That's the statement that the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is trying to make.
"This is litter in the shape of a body. Outlined as if it was a police scene" says Tom Hoefer, Communications and Media Director for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, "Just highlighting the fact that litter is a crime. It's expensive, societally and for tax payers."
How expensive? Between $175 and $1,000 in fines. Those convicted can also face up to eight hours in a litter abatement work program. According to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, "Dumping violations can carry even more penalties and higher fines depending on the severity of the dump site and the damage to the environment."
Litter isn't just plastic bottles and cigarette butts. It's also apple cores and banana peels; things that most think help the environment. According to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, 81% of litter is intentional and costs taxpayers $40 million annually.
"The litter problem has gotten worse in Calcasieu Parish over the last few years, mostly due to the industrial boom." says Hoefer, "We have more traffic, we have more trucks that litter flies out the back of...so it's become a real problem, and we are doing our best to fight it."
Residents of Calcasieu Parish can expect to see more of these 'crime scenes' over the next couple of months highlighting the growing problem. The Police Jury has met with Mayor Nic Hunter to discuss littering and solutions to make Lake Charles, as well as the rest of the parish, litter free,