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Politics

Phil Matier: Will Oakland Install More Red Light Cameras?

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Oakland city officials are considering a controversial plan to double the number of red light cameras in the city, but the question is are they simply doing this for the revenue?

Tickets from these red light cameras are sometimes perceived as revenue generators, but the tickets are $480. This week Oakland city officials are arguing whether or not this is about safety or cash.

One of the arguments against the cameras is that you can install them, but then the city won’t necessarily get all the revenue. Rather the private company that installs and monitors them would.

Oakland figures it would get $30,000 to $40,000 a month in net revenue from this, but a number of cities have dropped their program because of the private company getting most of the revenue.

KCBS, CBS 5 and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Reports:

Officials need to ask themselves, ‘Are we getting into an area where policing is done by private contractors and what is the motivation?’

Another argument is to extend the length of yellow lights, which has also proven to reduce the number of red light runners. Oakland police have said whether or not the cameras actually reduce the number of accidents depends. Some intersections it did, others not so much.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law authored by Joe Simitian from Palo Alto that said you can’t just do this kind (install red-light cameras) just for the money.

Lastly, one of the dirty secrets of these cameras has been revealed: in some studies, up to 90 percent of people ticketed because of these cameras has been for the infamous rolling right turn on a red light.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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