You may not want to smile if caught on this Hidden camera.

Local and state officials gathered in Indian Orchard on Tuesday to announce that 13 people had been caught on hidden state surveillance cameras in recent months, dumping items ranging from mattresses to trash in a wooded area off Moxon Street.

The city, in collaboration with the state, issued $300 citations to those deemed responsible for the illegal dumping under the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Hidden Camera

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, referring to those who dump as “midnight marauders,” said the police and park departments will continue to work with the state to crack down on illegal dumping by installing a few hidden cameras. In addition to the 13 violators who were caught on hidden camera, there are three newer cases not yet issued citations, officials said: “I am sick and tired of people being disrespectful to the city of Springfield,” Sarno said. “We will continue to monitor with Surveillance Camera and hidden cameras to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law to send a message that Springfield is not a dumping ground.”

Sarno and Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet said the dumping hurts Springfield and its quality of life, adding that many of the items dumped could have been disposed of legally at little or no cost including trash that can be set aside on the street curb. The items dumped over a period of several months this spring and summer included mattresses, furniture, construction material, a children’s slide, old tires, and a propane tank.

Pamela Talbot, director of the state’s environmental strike force, praised the collaborative effort by the city and state, noting the agency has partnered with more than a dozen communities since the program began in 2005, and is looking to expand the effort here and in other communities. Environmentalists have “long sought to end the damage and blight done to our public places by illegal dumping,” she said.

With recent advances in high resolution Hidden camera and Surveillance camera “at relatively low cost, we’ve greatly increased the probability of capturing and stopping this behavior,” Talbot said.

The state installed the small, outdoor battery-operated  hidden cameras, which are equipped with infrared night vision and triggered by motion sensors, (motion activated hidden camera), officials said. Working with police, citations were issued, with offenders able to pay their fines or request hearings in District Court.

Illegal dumping can be a civil or criminal matter depending on the circumstances, officials said.

Timothy C. Dame, a state environmental investigator, said the cameras are a great tool to catching offenders particularly with limited resources. Officer Joseph Piemonte, of the city’s quality of life ordinance flex squad, agreed the effort increases the ability to catch offenders.

Moxon Street is a dirt road off Goodwin Street and abuts a wooded area.

The state, in releasing a video of the incidents, said one of the motorists cited, Elvis Rodrigguez, was videotaped dumping eight mattresses at once from a pick-up truck into the road, effectively blocking the street until the Department of Public Works arrived to dispose of them properly.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno Installs Hidden Camera to capture illegal dumpers
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