Deltek Analyst Kristin Howe report.
Red-light cameras are up there with closed-circuit television (discussed in last week’s blog) as one of the most controversial techniques used by law enforcement officials to prevent crime. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 552 communities in 25 states are using these cameras as of October 2011.
Red-light cameras are attached to intersection traffic signals with motion sensors that send a signal to the camera to take picture or video when a car crosses after a light turns red. The photo or video usually captures a vehicle’s license plate, speed, and the time passed since the light turned red. This evidence is used in issuing traffic fines and can be used to convince a judge of an offender’s guilt.
Proponents of this technology believe it is instrumental in catching and prosecuting offenders while making drivers less likely to run red lights due to fear of getting caught. This not only means fewer accidents at intersections where cameras are placed, it also frees up police officers previously charged with monitoring those intersections and allows them to prevent crime elsewhere. However, opponents of the technology say that state and local governments are only using it as a means of collecting revenue from drivers. The opposing viewpoints have led to significant controversy and even the revocation of red-light cameras in some communities.
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