With the aid of newly installed surveillance cameras, the city attorney is cracking down on those who illegally dump garbage on sidewalks and in vacant lots.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Wednesday that he filed the first lawsuit based on footage from the cameras against Wilfredo Amaya, alleging 23 incidents of illegal dumping at a vacant lot in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood.
A city-installed surveillance camera has monitored the neighborhood lot, at the corner of Thomas Avenue and Griffith Street since April, and it allegedly shows Amaya dumping carpeting at the site on 15 occasions between April and August. The lawsuit also connects Amaya to the dumping of carpeting at the site at least eight other times before the camera was installed. Amaya could not be reached for comment.
The City’s Department of Public Works, which is in charge of the cleanups of illegal dumping, says it has spent more than $25,000 attending to Amaya’s alleged 23 instances of illegal dumping.
Mohammed Nuru, DPW’s deputy director, said Amaya is involved in some way with a carpet business and usually pulled up in a van at the location between 1 and 3 a.m.
City officials estimate Amaya would have had to spend a few hundred dollars to dump the carpets legally.
Herrera said The City may seek damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Contractors and those who move are the main offenders, Nuru said. Those who dump illegally choose the Bayview-Hunters Point area because there are many vacant lots at the end of dead end streets, according to Nuru. DPW crews pick up on average between seven and 10 tons of illegally dumped debris in the Bayview-Hunters Point area, according to Herrera.
“The Department of Public Works spends thousand and thousand of hours, millions of dollars cleaning up all this illegal dumping,” Nuru said.
There are five other surveillance cameras in undisclosed locations around the neighborhood beaming footage to laptops in the DPW office. The cameras are portable and will be moved “to hot spots where we are getting complaints,” Herrera said. About $150,000 was allocated to install the surveillance cameras.
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who was instrumental in securing the funding for the cameras, said, “We’re putting all those would-be dumpers on notice that Bayview-Hunters Point is not your dumping ground. There are places for that. And we will not tolerate it any longer.”