Detroit Using Hidden Cameras to Crack Down on Illegal Dumping

Detroit officials say most trash illegally dumped in the city comes from suburbs, including certain businesses.

Photo credit: Bre'Anna Tinsley/WDET

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

Detroit officials say they are adopting a new approach to deal with an old problem.

It’s illegal trash dumping in the city, something officials say costs Detroit millions of dollars to clean up.

Detroit has a lot of vacant property.

Some people have viewed that land as a good place to dump their trash, everything from a few old mattresses to used building materials.

Now police are installing hidden cameras at sites known to be used often by illegal dumpers and preparing to seize vehicles used by the criminals.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says two-thirds of those arrested in recent months for illegal dumping come from the city’s suburbs.

He says that includes some who view the act as part of their business model.

“There are clearly people who have businesses who are hauling debris and trash away, sometimes charging people, and instead of taking it to the landfill like they should they’re taking it to vacant lots in Detroit,” Duggan says. “(Now) if you come into this town and dump there’s a good chance we’re gonna take your vehicle and you’re going to be walking home.”

Duggan, who is running for a second term as mayor, says the city is using three hidden cameras to catch illegal dumping at the moment.

But he says police plan to have 15 of the cameras in operation by the end of the month.

Click on the video below to see cameras catching illegal dumping.


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.