HOUSTON (KTRK) --Houston leaders, fed up with ongoing illegal dumping, have deployed a hidden camera system to catch offenders.
Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen announced in a press conference Monday that 178 cases have been filed and 81 others are being investigated since new cameras were implemented in January.
"We are watching you. Don't mess with Harris County anymore. Don't mess with the city anymore or you'll go to jail," Rosen said.
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About 50 of the newest hidden cameras were paid for by $250,000 from the city council to help the constable's office.
The cameras are assembled by the constable's staff and are hidden at 25 known illegal dumping locations.
The high-definition video is recorded, while it's also monitored live downtown.
Rosen said the dumping sites snowball -- someone makes an illegal drop and others see the trash and do the same. He said many offenders make the illegal dumps within three miles of their own homes.
"I never understood that. Why would you actually make your neighborhood less livable?" Rosen said.
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The city raised the maximum fine for illegal dumping to $4,000. Many violators are also tasked with cleaning up the property where they dump.
Alan Bernal was arrested for illegal dumping charges not long after Rosen's press conference Monday. He warns potential offenders that it's better to use the many legal dumping sites in the area.
"Don't do it. Don't dump anything. Take care of the trash the way it should be," Bernal said as he was led away in handcuffs.
You can find legal dump locations by dialing 311.