The City of Fort Lauderdale's Environmental Crimes Unit focuses investigative resources on cases that involve negligent, knowing, or willful violations of city, state, and federal environmental law. Generally speaking, “knowing” violations are those that are deliberate and not the product of an accident or mistake. Knowledge of the specific statutes or regulations that prohibit the wrongful conduct is not required. When a violator is aware that the law prohibits the wrongful conduct, the violation is said to be "willful" and, usually, criminal penalties are imposed.
There are many types of environmental crimes. A few examples include:
- An auto mechanic who is replacing a radiator intentionally drains the radiator fluid into a nearby storm drain.
- A homeowner who illegally dumps used motor oil into a bulk trash pile.
- A homeowner who allows others from outside the city to utilize their yard for bulk trash pickup materials and illegal dumping.
An environmental crime is considered either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the crime, and could result in fines. Fines for these crimes can range from $2,000 to $6,000, part of which includes restitution fines payable to the City of Fort Lauderdale for investigative and clean-up costs. In addition, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department may confiscate any vehicle and/or trailer utilized for the crime.
The City of Fort Lauderdale encourages anyone that witnesses a suspected environmental crime to report it, even if uncertain about which law has been violated or which federal or state agency is responsible for investigating it. Do not attempt to confront the person who is committing the environmental crime.
Anyone with information regarding a person or business that might be committing an environmental crime may call the City of Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-8000. Be prepared to provide the suspect’s description, tag number, and a vehicle description, including any markings, damage, or business name imprinted on it. Any phone calls with an investigator will be confidential and, if desired, callers will remain anonymous.
To report an environmental crime, call 954-828-8000.