Cincinnati Red Light Camera Critics Play the Race Card

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

I don't pretend the understand the reasoning behind the NAACP's (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) decision to fight Cincinnati's plans to install red light cameras. According to the Enquirer, "Several NAACP members Thursday said they don’t like the idea of the cameras because it would infringe on their civil rights." And they kind of, you know, hinted that prospective camera placement might be racially biased: "NAACP member Elizabeth Sanford said she thinks the cameras may unfairly target some neighborhoods more than others." But hey, the NAACP will certainly earn some brownie points for this campaign. Given the cameras' dubious safety benefits, their Big Brother implications, and the fact that East Cleveland and Steubenville have punted their town's dreams of red light camera revenue, the NAACP's petition is likely to succeed. As thenewspaper reports, the NAACP will thusly thwart the Cincinnati City Council's cunning plan to end-run Mayor Charlie Luken's red light camera veto by slipping the measure into their annual budget. Anything for a buck, eh?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • TexasAg03 TexasAg03 on Dec 28, 2007
    In fact, I suspect the reason cop CARS are NOT fitted with (increasingly affordable) plate scanning cameras/devices is that they do not WANT to have to pull over (or justify why they don’t pull over) the huge mass of humanity that is driving with expired tags, warrants, etc. Texas has a system in place (in use in January 2008) where the officer can enter (or maybe call in to dispatch) a plate number and know immediately if the car is insured. This will help get around the counterfeit insurance cards, as well. By the way, I know of many people who have been pulled over for expired tags.
  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 29, 2007

    WhatdoIknow, There is a core of truth to what you are saying, but your first line is overreaching. I suspect that a sign saying there is a camera would work better than the camera if the cat never left the bag, but the camera's do reduce accidents at their intersections (likely cause a few different ones as well). San Diego was caught having REDUCED the yellow light times though, and that was REALLY dangerous as before the cameras went in, they found that expanding the yellow light time saved lives. In the end though, the camera company and the city conspired in a way that I believe most police would not (quota's can corrupt police though). Tex, Thanks for that clarification of the rules, but do you know if you only get your picture taken if you cross after the red, or does it nail you if you fail to clear the intersection in time? That's whats got me worried, so I suspect others are worried as well. Those worries could cause some trouble.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Dec 29, 2007

    TexasAg03, What I had in mind would require NO contact with dispatch by the officer. PD's in NY State had been testing an in-car scanning device that, at speed differences less than 30mph, gathered plate info from every car (parked or moving) that passes or is passed. Problem plates trigger an alert that brings up make/model/color and an enforcement decision has to be made. This seems to me (assuming scanned info from clean plates is dumped from the database) like a huge safety advance by pulling over suspect drivers. But it costs in terms of officer time/effort - unlike red light cameras which have little cost and lotsa potential revenue.

  • Tdoyle Tdoyle on Dec 29, 2007

    Ah, love the cameras. She was clicked recently here in Knoxville. I told my her that next time she runs the red light out near our neighborhood at Papermill and Kingston Pike, she needs to let me wash the Focus first. Both shots of her, and the car, half way through the intersection, way past the line show a very dirty Burgandy car. This is very embarassing! The $50 fine sucked as well, it wasn't even a high-res shot.