EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Illegal dumping is a growing problem that is plaguing East Baton Rouge Parish. Councilwoman Chauna Banks, District 2, addressed the issue in the metro council meeting Wednesday, June 26.
“I feel like as a city, we are helpless and that we’re at the entire mercy of dumping, illegal dumpers,” said Banks.
Current penalties allow the parish to fine offenders anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, however, it’s often difficult for authorities to identify those who are illegally dumping.
“On public property, the problem with that is it’s hard to identify unless we have cameras or some kind of surveillance who’s doing the dumping,” said a spokeswoman with the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Camera surveillance is a solution that Baton Rouge Police Deputy Chief Jonny Dunnam says may come sooner rather than later.
“We all know that blight leads to crime, so this is a crime related issue, and we feel that it is a decent use of cameras, some of the cameras that we have, to put them at locations where there’s dumping,” said Dunnam.
Dunnam also says Crime Stoppers would need to map out dumping hot spots with the Department of Public Works and council members before putting the cameras out. He says people can call in tips to Crime Stoppers about dumping just like any other crime, but Crime Stoppers can’t offer the same incentives as for criminal tips.
“Crime Stoppers only pays rewards for felony information that leads to a felony arrest; the dumping issue is a misdemeanor,” said Dunnam.
Now, Councilwoman Banks is requesting to revisit an ordinance that could turn illegal dumping from a misdemeanor into a felony.
Bulk trash items, such as sofas and refrigerators, can be dropped off at the Baton Rouge North Landfill in Zachary, however, they do not accept items like large trees pieces or construction debris.