CLEVELAND — Illegal dumping is off to a fast start in the City of Cleveland in 2023, but so is the city in its effort to combat the chronic problem with the development of surveillance systems utilizing artificial intelligence.
The city has teamed up the Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University through the Internet of Things, or IOT Collaborative, to create a deployable smart camera system that will recognize illegal dumping as it’s taking place and report it to law enforcement.
The development project has been made possible through funding from the Cleveland Foundation.
Nick Barendt, CWRU executive director for the Institute for Smart, Secure, Connected Systems, told News 5 field testing on the systems will take place in the coming months.
“How do we harness technology, but make sure we’re doing it in a way that serves the public interest, said Barendt. “How do we improve the operational capabilities of these sorts of systems and reduce the false positives.”
Barendt said his team is gong to create a corridor on one of the campuses that can be used as a controlled test bed.
“Where we can drag boxes or furniture or whatever into the field of view and make sure we can detect those,” he said. “You’re detecting things coming into a cameras field of view, that the don’t leave the field of view within some reasonable amount of time. There’s going to have to be some privacy by design considerations, as well as signage and other things that we’re going to have to put up.”
Brian Ray, Cleveland State University law professor and director of the Center for Cyber Security and Privacy Protection, told News 5 the team is working to create smart cameras that won’t create neighborhood privacy issues.
“We don’t want a ‘big brother’ society, but we do want to get rid of illegal dumping,” said Ray. “We want to make sure that enforcement is efficient, but also make sure that the enforcement is going after the right people.”
Ray mentioned AI takes responsibility on aspects such as monitoring.
“Someone has to be monitoring that system to the extent that it’s an enforcement focused system, you’ve got to have the capability to go out and deploy on it,” he said.
Larry Jones II, Cleveland deputy commissioner of public safety said the effort will work using some the same camera technology that is part of the Safe Smart CLE video surveillance program, which already has 1,700 cameras set-up throughout Cleveland.
“We want to work on an analytics system that’s going to identify actual trash bags, tires, it could be TV screens, things that have plagued us in our neighborhoods,” said Jones. “We want to develop an analytic that’s going to alert us to those notifications, instead of just typical motion activation in the area.”
Jones agreed more human assets in the form of additional city staffing will also be needed to make the AI smart camera surveillance system effective.
“Then we can forward this up to law enforcement and prosecutors and go after some of these folks who are committing these crimes in our neighborhoods,” he said. “We’re hoping to deter folks from committing these illegal dumping crimes, so the point of having signage and making sure the areas are well lit though our LED project is at the forefront of this.”
The IOT Collaborative team is hoping to have a deployable AI illegal dumping surveillance system prototype completed by the end of the summer of 2023.
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