Where's the research for the stop-sign camera plan?

Where's the research for the stop-sign camera plan? 
 11/18/2007 HR

Dear Editor:

The idea that installing cameras at stop signs in the city as an effective way to prevent reckless driving as well as accidents is ludicrous. Deciding to mount the cameras at various Hoboken stop signs under the pretense of "safety" is incredibly misleading as well. These cameras are nothing but income-generating devices operating under the guise of accident prevention.

As a Hoboken resident, I would like to know why the Council decided on the measure, what statistics were used to justify the cameras, who will be watching the tapes, exactly how long will the cameras roll and what contacts or relationships the Council or Police Department has with the operators and installers of the cameras.

These types of camera programs have been in place for years and they don't work. Washington D.C. is a perfect example. The District of Columbia installed red light cameras in 1999 and in six years generated over $32 million in fines for the city. The problem with that is that in the same time period the number of accidents actually went up at the intersections with the red-light cameras. The Washington Post investigated and found that at some intersections, the number of accidents actually doubled! Another example is Philadelphia. When confronted with an independent assessment of the red light camera program in the city, Philadelphia officials would not even release any data regarding the effectiveness of the program. Interesting to note that the law was enacted after more than $125,000 was donated to officials on behalf of the camera industry. Other examples exist.

Aside from the usual concerns regarding safety, what troubles me is the fact that Police Chief Dr. Carmen LaBruno made it seem like the cameras will be continuously filming. "..instead, the tape will roll and at a later time be viewed by a police officer who will look for individuals going through without stopping.." This is pretty subjective. I may receive a ticket just because a police officer says it "looked" like I went through a stop sign? How will I dispute it? Will I have access to the tape? What else will the cameras be recording? Constant filming strikes me as somewhat Orwellian. Red light cameras just take one picture and that's it.

The financial aspects interest me as well. The Reporter stated that at the time of publication, the costs to install the cameras and maintain them could not be found, nor any figures on how much income this will generate for the city. Any sound business plan makes provisions for initial costs and states them up front, why doesn't this plan list its associated costs? Maybe this information is available somewhere but why isn't it being disclosed?

I am dismayed that this plan is being implemented with the full realization that it does not work and that our elected officials are more concerned with making money for the city than being realistic and concluding that Hoboken does not need stop sign cameras.

Tim de Valroger 

Comments (1)

Said this on 3-2-2008 At 07:11 pm
I disagree completely-- just because he is a fast driver (which I have first hand experience!) and keeps going through stop signs doesn't mean he should write a letter complaining about the stop sign cameras!

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