Garbage Collectors In 96 Cities Report Crime Tips To Police


In a low-tech approach to surveillance, more cities are asking garbage collectors to help the police keep up with what is happening on the streets, says the New York Times. Some big waste collection companies, including Waste Management and Republic Services, have been participating for several years, having police departments to train their workers on what to look for. The program is operating in 96 municipalities including Londonderry, N.H.; Salt Lake City; Denver; and Fort Worth. “The program has really, I would say, caught fire in the last couple of years,” said Zachary Lowe, a former FBI agent who was an early proponent of the program as vice president and chief security officer at Waste Management. “We have not advertised it.”

The company's Waste Watch program suggested the idea to officials of Roseville, Ca., whose garbage collectors are municipal employees. Local police officers trained the drivers, who are not paid extra for participating, last summer. Police officers appreciate the drivers' tips, especially as budgets shrink. Roseville has left 10 police positions unfilled. Toby August, a senior driver in Roseville, said he often reported people he suspected of being drunken drivers. “Three guys got in a Jeep, all with beers, the driver talking on a cellphone,” he said. “I called that one in.”


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