YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Shortly after setting up surveillance cameras to catch litterbugs, the town of Yorktown has photographed a truck owner illegally discarding the contents of his truck, said Town Attorney Michael J. McDermott.
The truck owner is accused of dumping "wood, dirt, dead plantings and general debris" in a wooded area around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. In the surveillance photos, a “No Dumping” sign is visible next to the truck, McDermott said.
Yorktown’s litter camera law, approved by the town board in July 2016, allows the town to administer fines based on photographs and video recordings—including those submitted by residents.
Last year, a resident who had set up their own security camera captured a motorist discarding trash on the roadway. The resident submitted the images to town officials, and the motorist was fined $200. That money paid for Yorktown’s own cameras, McDermott said.
Under Yorktown’s “Recorded Images Violations” local law, any motorist caught on camera littering from his or her vehicle is subject to a fine up to $500. In almost all cases, the owner of the vehicle will be subject to the fine, regardless of who was driving the vehicle or who littered.
“The penalty paid will be used to fund the purchase of additional cameras—all at no payment of taxpayer money,” McDermott said. “Hopefully, other people start getting the message that the town has taken the anti-littering campaign quite seriously and that if you litter or dump in our town, you will be caught and penalized.”
Earlier this month, Jason Zeif, the town’s code enforcement officer, strategically placed the anti-littering cameras in areas where people have been known to dump or litter, McDermott said. The motion detector cameras are portable and easy to move from place to place. The images are reviewed by the building department, said Supervisor Michael Grace.
The owner of the vehicle, who has been noticed of the violation, can choose to pay the fine or contest it in court.
“If debris comes off your moving vehicle and you’re caught on camera and we catch your plate, the owner of the vehicle is subject to a fine up to $500,” Grace said at the Oct. 17 town board meeting. “So be warned and beware, the cameras are out there.”