Delaware state officials credit the TrashStoppers tip-line program with helping increase the number of illegal dumping arrests.
Delaware has nailed more illegal dumpers this year than ever before. Through the first half of 2010, Delaware’s Environmental Protection Officers investigated more than 1,700 complaints about violations of the state’s environmental laws. Those complaints include illegal burning, air pollution violations, and even three “white powder” incidents. But the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has really been stepping up enforcement of violations of Delaware’s illegal dumping laws.
The number of illegal dumping arrests is up 140% compared to last year. Chief of DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit William McDaniel credits the department’s TrashStoppers campaign, which is very similar to the State Police tipline, CrimeStoppers. “The response has been tremendous. Tips provided by citizens enable us to identify locations to deploy our new digital cameras,” McDaniel says. “The new digital cameras are the single biggest factor leading to the increase in illegal dumping arrests.”
Earlier this summer, DNREC officials announced plans to install up to 20 surveillance cameras at areas known to be frequented by illegal dumpers. Residents who see illegal dumping sites can report the location to TrashStoppers by calling DNREC’s environmental complaint hotline at 1-800-662-8802. The minimum penalty for illegal dumping is $500.