Screenshot of people in car performing illegal dumping of trash by roadside.
Smart cities

Radar technology pinpoints illegal dumping.

Organization: New Orleans Sanitation Department, New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
Location: New Orleans, LA, United States
Customer need: Incident detection, Remote enforcement
New Orleans, LA, United States, 

New Orleans launches Clean Up NOLA initiative using Axis network radar detectors and network cameras to curtail illegal dumping.

Cleaning up the Big Easy

Anyone who lives, works or plays in an urban center knows that if left unchecked, trash can really detract from the community’s quality of life. New Orleans is no exception. As a popular tourist destination, the Big Easy draws millions of visitors to its streets every year. Known for its flamboyant Mardi Gras celebrations and countless other holiday parades throughout the year, the city also hosts numerous national sporting events, conventions, music festivals and neighborhood celebrations. And with all that activity comes tons of trash.

The city’s Sanitation Department was easily managing the challenge of sweeping up after countless parades and festivals and handling regular residential and commercial refuse collection. But frustratingly, they were having little luck curtailing illegal dumping.

Meeting the problem head on, newly elected Mayor LaToya Cantrell launched the Clean Up NOLA initiative to fund a solution. This enabled the Sanitation Department to purchase 10 AXIS Q6125-LE PTZ Network Cameras augmented with IR-filters for night vision and deploy them at chronic illegal dumping sites across the city. If they could catch law breakers on video and successfully prosecute them, it would likely help deter future offenders.

“It’s really a quality of life issue,” said George Brown, IT Manager for the New Orleans Real Time Crime Center. “Our goal is to keep our city an attractive place to live and visit.”

Cracking down on illegal dumping

Because illegal dumping is a crime, staff at the New Orleans Real Time Crime Center monitors the Sanitation Department’s cameras along with the other 400+ municipally-owned public safety cameras installed throughout the city. The cameras are integrated into the Genetec Security Center™ unified platform, and the Stratocast™ cloud-based video monitoring system, allowing the video to be displayed on the Crime Center’s video wall and to be archived for forensic evidence as needed.

“When we’ve caught somebody illegally dumping, we’ve sent video clips to the local news media to show that the city is taking this issue seriously and is going to enforce the law,” said Ross Bourgeois from New Orleans’ Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. “We want people to take more pride in our city and change their behavior accordingly.”

Radar technology gives us another layer of flexibility by allowing our PTZ cameras to serve a dual purpose for public safety and sanitation. The network radar detectors direct the cameras to view activity near chronic illegal dumping sites so that we do not miss out on any waste disposal violations.
Ross Bourgeois, Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness for the city of New Orleans.

Giving Sanitation’s cameras a double mission

To enhance their ability to catch someone red-handed, the Sanitation Department has begun integrating several of their Axis PTZ cameras with Axis network radar detectors. When an AXIS D2050-VE Network Radar Detector spots movement it automatically directs the associated PTZ camera to pan-tilt-zoom to the exact location that needs to be observed and recorded.

The advantage of this radar-camera pairing is that when not focused on an abandon lot, the Axis network PTZ cameras are available to monitor the surrounding area for public safety.

“Rather than dedicate a camera to just face an area known for illegal dumping and record days and days of nothing happening, we decided to just point the radar detector towards the focal point of the problem,” explained George Brown. “This way the radar will direct the camera when it detects a live event taking place. The rest of the time the camera operates as part of the city’s canopy of public safety cameras.”

Generating a quick ROI

If caught, illegal dumping in New Orleans is a minimum fine of $1,500. Now that the city is using radar technology and network video cameras to catch culprits in the act, successful prosecution is likely guaranteed. And that’s money that can go back into the city’s funds to continue supporting the Clean Up NOLA initiative.

Ross Bourgeois added, “Because Axis network radar detectors enable the Sanitation Department’s cameras to serve a dual purpose we’re doubling the city’s return on investment.”

When the Axis network radar detector senses an event, it redirects the PTZ camera from its default position to track and record culprits illegally dumping.

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