Americans Growing Tired of Traffic Light Spy Cameras

Traffic Light SpyAlex Johnson writes on MSNBC:

In more than 500 cities and towns in 25 states, silent sentries keep watch over intersections, snapping photos and shooting video of drivers who run red lights. The cameras are on the job in metropolises like Houston and Chicago and in small towns like Selmer, Tenn., population 4,700, where a single camera setup monitors traffic at the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and Mulberry Avenue.

One of the places is Los Angeles, where, if the Police Commission gets its way, the red light cameras will have to come down in a few weeks. That puts the nation’s second-largest city at the leading edge of an anti-camera movement that appears to have been gaining traction across the country in recent weeks.

A City Council committee is considering whether to continue the city’s camera contract over the objections of the commission, which voted unanimously to remove the camera system, which shoots video of cars running red lights at 32 of the city’s thousands of intersections. The private Arizona company that installed the cameras and runs the program mails off $446 tickets to their registered owners.

The company’s contract will expire at the end of July if the council can’t reach a final agreement to renew it..

Article continues at MSNBC.

53 Comments on "Americans Growing Tired of Traffic Light Spy Cameras"

  1. Anonymous | Jun 28, 2011 at 1:07 am |

    It’s not just “red light” cameras. Some cities use hidden camera /radar combinations for speeders. You get a ticket a few weeks later in the mail (assuming your address is current) with a picture of your car doing the deed. In some cities this is considered a civil violation and no points are added to your record. 
    Most people i know who got one simply threw it away and didn’t pay the fine. Nothing happened to them and no criminal warrant can be issued for a civil offense. The city would have to sue you in civil court for the money and that’s just too costly and time consuming.

  2. GoodDoktorBad | Jun 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm |

    It’s not just “red light” cameras. Some cities use hidden camera /radar combinations for speeders. You get a ticket a few weeks later in the mail (assuming your address is current) with a picture of your car doing the deed. In some cities this is considered a civil violation and no points are added to your record. 
    Most people i know who got one simply threw it away and didn’t pay the fine. Nothing happened to them and no criminal warrant can be issued for a civil offense. The city would have to sue you in civil court for the money and that’s just too costly and time consuming.

    • dumbsaint | Jun 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm |

      I got a lovely photograph of myself speeding the other day. Unfortunately in my country you can’t really get around not paying the fine. They’re a popular way for the cops here to make a few dollars.

      • GoodDoktorBad | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

        Its a popular way for cops to make dollars here too. Only some of these camera related tickets are considered civil offenses. The rest (an actual cop hands you a ticket he signed) you can be arrested for if you don’t pay the fine or contest it in court. 

        Even minor offenses need a signed citation or warrant to be valid. So, they try to get you in civil court. (Party vs. Party)

      • GoodDoktorBad | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

        Its a popular way for cops to make dollars here too. Only some of these camera related tickets are considered civil offenses. The rest (an actual cop hands you a ticket he signed) you can be arrested for if you don’t pay the fine or contest it in court. 

        Even minor offenses need a signed citation or warrant to be valid. So, they try to get you in civil court. (Party vs. Party)

  3. justagirl | Jun 28, 2011 at 1:29 am |

    the trick is to fly by at such a speed that you are only a blur.

  4. justagirl | Jun 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm |

    the trick is to fly by at such a speed that you are only a blur.

  5. Anonymous | Jun 28, 2011 at 1:46 am |

    I got a lovely photograph of myself speeding the other day. Unfortunately in my country you can’t really get around not paying the fine. They’re a popular way for the cops here to make a few dollars.

  6. For a second there i read “Alex Jones writes on MSNBC:” and i was thinking Bwaaahh!?

  7. For a second there i read “Alex Jones writes on MSNBC:” and i was thinking Bwaaahh!?

  8. its a proven fact these cameras cause more accidents by causing people to slam on the brakes to avoid a fine. 

  9. its a proven fact these cameras cause more accidents by causing people to slam on the brakes to avoid a fine. 

  10. Anonymous | Jun 28, 2011 at 3:03 am |

    Its a popular way for cops to make dollars here too. Only these camera related tickets are considered civil offenses. The rest (an actual cop hands you a ticket he signed) you can arrested for if you don’t pay the fine or contest it in court. 

    Even minor offenses need a signed citation or warrant to be valid. So, they try to get you in civil court. (Party vs. Party)

  11. Who watches the Watchers? That’s only where the debate begins … It’s a system “Ripe For Abuse” !

  12. Who watches the Watchers? That’s only where the debate begins … It’s a system “Ripe For Abuse” !

  13. police dog | Jun 28, 2011 at 3:48 am |

    move these cameras to the top of cop cars and turn them on if the gun is taken off its holster. 

  14. police dog | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm |

    move these cameras to the top of cop cars and turn them on if the gun is taken off its holster. 

  15. Anonymous | Jun 28, 2011 at 11:32 am |

    To be fair, far more accidents are caused by people driving through red lights.

  16. please share this proof?

  17. Australian states rely on speed cameras for revenue. Good on these America cities for ditching them, but I can’t see it happening here.

  18. Australian states rely on speed cameras for revenue. Good on these America cities for ditching them, but I can’t see it happening here.

    • My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  19. I hope they dump them. All they mean to me is that once I find an intersection has one, since I don’t trust that a machine can differentiate in the kind of rational way a human can (ie. register nuance), I simply find an alternate route that avoids the camera. 

    So in real terms, if I intended to break the law, it does exactly nothing to stop me, rather it simply moves my activity elsewhere to a neighboring street. And I do this even as a law-ABIDING citizen, because I just don’t trust that I’m not going to get snagged for something that wasn’t actually a violation of the law.

    Basically, the damn things are useless from a crime prevention standpoint, but they were never intended for that anyways – this is about revenue at the expense of justice. You don’t have to pay a human cop to watch an intersection, you can just sit back and fine the hell out of people.

  20. I hope they dump them. All they mean to me is that once I find an intersection has one, since I don’t trust that a machine can differentiate in the kind of rational way a human can (ie. register nuance), I simply find an alternate route that avoids the camera. 

    So in real terms, if I intended to break the law, it does exactly nothing to stop me, rather it simply moves my activity elsewhere to a neighboring street. And I do this even as a law-ABIDING citizen, because I just don’t trust that I’m not going to get snagged for something that wasn’t actually a violation of the law.

    Basically, the damn things are useless from a crime prevention standpoint, but they were never intended for that anyways – this is about revenue at the expense of justice. You don’t have to pay a human cop to watch an intersection, you can just sit back and fine the hell out of people.

  21. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  22. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  23. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  24. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  25. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  26. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  27. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  28. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  29. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  30. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  31. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  32. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  33. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  34. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  35. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  36. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  37. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  38. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  39. My favorite part of Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” is when australia gets nuked.  What a junk country.

  40. justagirl | Jun 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    bigfoot mask.

  41. justagirl | Jun 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    bigfoot mask.

  42. justagirl | Jun 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    bigfoot mask.

  43. I don’t particularly like them, but I don’t like getting “T” boned by some idiot that floors it from a block away so they can make a light that just went yellow. I stop for yellow lights, so I don’t worry about getting a ticket. Try it,,, it really, really works.

  44. I don’t particularly like them, but I don’t like getting “T” boned by some idiot that floors it from a block away so they can make a light that just went yellow. I stop for yellow lights, so I don’t worry about getting a ticket. Try it,,, it really, really works.

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