SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport Police Chief Wayne Smith joined Mayor Adrian Perkins and Shreveport Green Tuesday afternoon to announce plans for a citywide crackdown on littering and illegal dumping, as part of the City of Shreveport’s #CleanerShreveport initiative.
More than 700 people participated in the 4th Love Shreveport Citywide Cleanup and leadership outlined the progress made during the city’s most recent cleanup.
Perkins said his administration increased the city’s budget for cleaning up the city by 93% in year one, spending about $3 million, and increased it another 19% last year. That’s on top of setting up an Environmental Crimes Unit within the Shreveport Police Department in May 2019 and an Environmental Court established in April 2021 designed to streamline the fight against blight in the city’s neighborhoods.
“Yet, all of our efforts will be for naught if we still have irresponsible people littering in our city,” Perkins said. “Whether they are citizens or a visitor, the City of Shreveport can no longer afford their behavior, so we are going to shift the burden that currently rests on our taxpayers’ backs and we’re gonna put it on the shoulders of those perpetrating this littering and breaking the law.”
Toward that end, Perkins announced that SPD will be working with the city’s Real Time Crime Center to step up enforcement of local littering ordinances.
Chief Smith said “several people have already been arrested for littering and numerous people have been cited” through this partnership between the department and the RTCC.
“A cleaner city, a beautiful city, is a safer city,” Smith said. “And it invites others to come to our area and enjoy the beauty of it.”
“One of our difficulties is getting evidence tied up in who did it, what color is the truck, the vehicle, etc.? Which direction were they coming from, where were they going?” said Shreveport Chief Technology Officer Keith Hanson, who oversees the RTCC.
“The biggest challenge of that is not necessarily the camera itself, it’s that we don’t have the infrastructure and power. So, what we’re having to do is research, ‘How do you strap a camera to a tree’ and power it for the long haul, even if there’s rain? So right now, we’re working on that. That is our mission right now, is to figure out the best and least expensive way to get as many of these dumping areas covered with cameras to stop the dumping.”
Mayor Perkins says his office is also reviewing the laws already on the books and proposing even stiffer ordinances at next week’s city council meeting. Right now, violators of Shreveport litter laws face a fine of up to $1,000. Among other things, Perkins says he wants to set the fine for a first offense at $500 and escalate subsequent fines the way to the limit allowed under the law.
“The way things currently are is unsustainable and it is a black eye to our city. If you love Shreveport, you wouldn’t litter. If you love Shreveport, you see litter, you would do all that you can to pick it up. Now, I’m being reasonable about this. Obviously, if you see it on a busy street or a highway, don’t pick it up. But you can call public works, the number is 318-673-6330. Public works will respond and they will pick it up.”
Tuesday’s announcement comes after the City of Shreveport partnered for its fourth consecutive year with Shreveport Green for a #CleanerShreveport citywide cleanup on Saturday. Organizers say more than 700 volunteers fanned out across the city, picking up more than 8 tons of trash.