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Goldstein Investigates: Illegal Dumping Persists In DTLA While City Security Cameras Collect Dust

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — More than $100,000 in surveillance cameras has been sitting idle for more than a year while illegal dumping is rampant in downtown Los Angeles, a David Goldstein investigation reveals.

Goldstein's investigation uncovered $150,000-worth of security cameras and equipment has been sitting in a locked storage cabinet in the L.A. City Public Works building. The cameras, about a dozen, have sat unused — even though they were purchased more than a year ago.

Yuda Sooferi owns Starlight Textiles. Most mornings, he sees a pile of trash in front of his store near Skid Row.

"It's terrible," he said. "Our business suffers from that. It's very hard for us."

The trash is dumped here, he believes, by other store owners who don't pay for trash pick-up.

He says cameras — like the ones Goldstein found looking out at some intersections — would prevent it.

"Here is very big intersection. And if there was camera here, for sure it would be ... effective here," Sooferi said.

And it could be effective in many areas of downtown L.A., where they're fighting rats and a typhus outbreak, not only brought on by the thousands of homeless on the streets, but by the thousands of pounds of trash that are dumped on the streets everyday.

Why aren't these cameras out on the streets trying to catch people dumping illegally? That's what we asked Enrique Zaldivar, who heads L.A. Public Works.

"They'll go up as soon as we have the entire power source," he said.

But it's been a year. He claims they've been waiting for permits — while the cameras sit.

Estela Lopez runs the Downtown Industrial Business Improvement district. It's funded by store owners, in part to try and keep the area clean.

"These are about 24 cameras that were supposed to be set up to catch illegal dumping," Lopez said. " ... Not only would they catch people but the important message would be sent that this is not something that will be tolerated in the City of Los Angeles."

Hours after Goldstein's interview with the city, a spokesperson emailed to say the cameras will go up as soon as possible. The spokesperson said three cameras were operating at the time of this report.

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