SALEM - Area residents won't be alone when they're dropping off their recycling - they'll have a set of eyes on them the whole time.
City electrician Michael Bibbee installed a video surveillance camera Tuesday which will oversee the lot where the recycling containers are located next to the fire department. A sign was installed, too.
"That sign will be visible to let you know you're on the watch," Bibbee said.
Salem city electrician Michael Bibbee installs a video surveillance camera on the antenna next to the fire station Tuesday, overlooking the recycling area as a deterrent against people dumping garbage. City Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst decided to have the camera installed, with the video fed into the police department dispatch area for 24-hour a day monitoring. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
The camera will send a video feed into a monitor in the police station, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
City Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst came up with the idea for the video surveillance as a means to deter people from illegally dumping garbage in the containers. He walks at the track at Reilly Stadium and they have cameras there and signs indicating the presence of video surveillance.
While Bibbee installed the camera on the antenna next to the fire station, city worker Doug Moffett installed the sign which says "video surveillance camera in use." Bibbee said the camera had been in use previously when the city still had a jail, so it cost nothing since it was used equipment in storage. The outdoor housing will protect it from the elements.
He said there wasn't much cost involved except for the sign and cabling, besides his time and Moffett's time which was part of their normal work day. Kenst estimated the cost of the sign at $40.
"I think that's a pretty good investment if we can help solve the problem," he said.
He reported the idea to city council and to Chris Jacobs, the director of the Carroll-Columbiana-Harrison Solid Waste District which provides the recycling containers. He said Jacobs thought it was a good idea. The haulers who pick up the containers end up sorting out the trash that people dump illegally from the acceptable recyclable materials, creating extra work for them.
"The point is to get people to do the right thing," Kenst said.
The district has put a lot of time and effort into making the receptacles available for residents to recycle and most people use them as intended, which makes it great for the city of Salem, he said.
When asked if he thought people might complain about "big brother watching" with the camera, he said he thinks people who use the recycling area "will look at it as a welcome addition. I think it's a good thing."