NYC residents could get paid for spying on one another
by Sam Rolle
New York City lawmakers have proposed a bill that would pay residents to video vehicles left idling on the street for more than three minutes and turn the footage over to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
According to NYC Councilmembers Donovan Richards and Helen Rosenthal, the plan is aimed at cutting down on pollution in the city by increasing enforcement of a city ordinance that prohibits idling for more than three minutes, or one minute in a school zone.
“This is a real environmental problem and a real public health problem that I know my constituents have been urging me to address,” Rosenthal told CBS New York.
The NYC lawmakers contend that paying residents cash to rat out their neighbors is necessary because the idling car problem is too widespread for NYPD and DEP officers to police.
“Unfortunately, DEP does not have enough enforcement agents,” Richards said. “They have 40 enforcement agents for a city of nearly 8 million people.”
Under the council plan, residents who attend a brief training session would be used as evidence-gatherers for the DEP.
“They can videotape a violation, upload it onto the DEP website, and then DEP can go forward and issue violations as appropriate,” Rosenthal said.
For violators of the idling law a first-offense would result in a warning— but repeat offenders could get tickets in the mail ranging from $350 to $2000. According to reports, members of the city’s civilian enforcement team could earn as much of half the amount of the fine for each ticket they help issue.