Red Lights Cameras, Still a Bad Idea

Denver and Redflex are in cahoots on the red light camera system installed last summer, it’s good for revenue but good for reducing red light violations? Dunno, they simply don’t track the data to provide a statistical basis for demonstrating a public safety improvement.

The most egregious violation of the public trust is when these cities decrease the yellow light timing, which is proven to do two things, increase traffic citation revenue and increase accident rates.

Denver has failed to enforce its red-light camera contract, collecting the $75 fines but not collecting the data necessary to determine whether the program actually is reducing red-light running.

The contractor, Redflex Traffic Systems of Scottsdale, Ariz., hasn’t submitted a single page of the mountains of data the contract requires since the cameras went live last summer, including statistics that would disclose whether it must reimburse money to Denver for system failures.

[From Do Denver red-light cameras deter violations? : Updates : The Rocky Mountain News]

If San Francisco Ruled the World

Witness the chaos that ensued after the City of San Francisco installed a public video surveillance system with the stated goal of crime reduction.

The report was critical of the way a hodgepodge of city agencies combined to administer the program. It said the program had no dedicated manager, and that officers and attorneys got no training on how to view the footage. The clarity of the footage, the study said, could be greatly improved if San Francisco bought more data storage space.

The cameras San Francisco bought and installed for $700,000 are high-resolution but produce so few frames per second that the footage appears choppy, making it difficult to identify things like license plates, the report said.

[From S.F. spy cameras no help in violent crime]

This, however, is my favorite graf in the story:

San Francisco’s camera program is different from other cities’ because, in a nod to privacy concerns, police in San Francisco are not allowed to monitor cameras in real time; investigators must instead order footage after a crime is reported.

So let’s put this in perspective, the cameras are installed in public places where you have no privacy to begin with and the police are not allowed to monitor the cameras because of “privacy concerns” and then have to order video footage they have no training for how to view following a crime but because the frame rate and storage capacity on the system is inadequate, there is often no usable footage to retrieve. Brilliant, let’s definitely use the San Francisco Model for City Government as the ideal for the rest of the country.