Seattle city officials aim to deter illegal dumping with security cameras

City officials hope installing a new camera will deter illegal dumping in West Seattle.

The motion-activated camera is the first in a pilot program that could see even more cameras like it installed in areas that frequently require cleanups throughout the city.

Last year, the city cleaned up almost 2 million pounds of trash at a cost of over $1.7 million to the taxpayer.

The camera, installed March 3, includes a loudspeaker that warns the camera has been activated and images will be sent for review to Seattle Public Utilities. Staff will then look for the license plate and determine if they broke the law.

"It’s a good idea, I think it’s proactive," said Pacific Plumbing Vice President Marc Sherman. "We were notified that it was going up the first week of March, and we were the first in the city to get it."

The new camera was placed behind Pacific Plumbing’s Offices.

Sherman believes the camera operates as more of a deterrent than anything.

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"We think probably that is the most effective part of the camera," he said. "The part that they’re really promoting is, they can identify the person that did it. I think well then, they have to go find them... those are pretty onerous steps to go through. So, I think the warning voice is probably the most effective."