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No Dumping - You're on Camera Mural in Camden NJ

A new mural to discourage illegal dumping in Camden, NJ

The Problem with Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is a mess.  Not only is it ugly, but dumped trash depreciates neighborhoods, threatens the health and safety of the residents and environment, and wastes precious tax dollars.  Like many communities, the City of Camden, NJ, has been plagued by illegal dumping for years.   In 2020 alone, the City collected over 43,000 tons of illegally dumped trash resulting in $4 million in remediation costs (Moen, Rodriguez and Redd, 2020).  Fortunately, local authorities and non-profits, such as The Camden Community Partnership, have launched a strategy to address illegal dumping:  off-grid surveillance cameras with live, real-time monitoring.

The Gridless Sentry Solution

Security cameras are the most popular and affordable option for site surveillance. However, without power or internet, installing and monitoring security cameras throughout public spaces has not always been feasible. That is why the Camden Community Partnership partnered with Gridless Power to take Verkada cameras off-grid with the Gridless Sentry. 

The Gridless Sentry is a compact battery and solar kit with a built-in LTE modem and control platform. Utilizing low power and bandwidth Verkada cameras, the LTE cell service transmits live footage via the cloud for remote viewing from a user-friendly platform on any device. No local power, NVR/DVR, or internet required. As seen in the images, the camera’s live video feed was activated as soon as the solar panel and Sentry box were mounted on a telephone pole. 

Installation of a Gridless Sentry, Solar Panel, and Security Camera by Technicians on a Lift

Installation of the Gridless Sentry, Solar Panel, and Security Camera

Gridless Sentry, Solar Panel, and Camera Installed on a Telephone Pole

The completed Sentry system installed on a telephone pole

Live View of a Verkada Camera on a Cell Phone

Live Cameras and Monitoring 24/7

According to Camden Community Partnership Project Managers, Missy Frankil and Vedra Chandler, they chose this solution because it allows their team and local police to easily view the footage and set up live monitoring. Verkada’s live monitoring feature will recognize as soon as someone is illegally dumping on this vacant lot and call authorities to the scene. Unlike most solar cameras that only start recording when motion is detected, Verkada’s camera footage is live-streaming 24/7 and the videos can be easily reviewed online. The camera’s  analytics can even recognize if the same person/vehicle has been on site multiple times in the past 30 days (or longer).

Save Time, Save Money

Julio Rivera, a supervisor with Camden’s Electrical Bureau for the past 20 years, is especially looking forward to using the Sentry’s off-grid camera solution because it will save time and labor.  According to Rivera, the current cameras deployed remotely around the city require the team to physically collect the footage each time an incident occurs or routinely every 3-4 weeks.  This task requires several employees, a bucket truck, and hours of time to remove the cameras, retrieve the data card, transport the card to authorities, and then scrub the film (Rivera, 2021).  The Gridless Sentry solution removes all these steps.  Once installed, the Sentry and Verkada camera will require no maintenance and receive wireless updates for the next 5-10 years. 

Jose Rivera, with the Camden Electric Bureau

Julio Rivera, with the Camden Electrical Bureau