Gardena has shut down its red light camera tickets. In an interesting twist, the cameras are being shut down because they are not profitable for the city! As law enforcement continues to become a “business” due to fiscal constraints, the budget continues to dictate our policies on law enforcement.
The amount of double talk from the government about red light camera tickets is pathetic. First, they put them up and deny that profit is the concern. They trumpet safety concerns, efficiency, a green operation due to less effect on the environment, pretty much anything they can think of. But they always deny they are being put up to raise revenue.
Now they are losing money on the program due to the outrageous cost of operating and prosecuting them. In the wake of public backlash and litigation in traffic courts, the system is a failure. According to the mayor of Gardena there were a few reasons to shut it down, “First and foremost, the financial hole that this is creating, in addition to the lack of evidence that the program is in fact being effective,” Tanaka said. “It may have had its impact early on, but it’s come to a point now where we have to make a decision.”
The city of Los Angeles recently shut down it’s red light camera ticket program and really created a buzz in Southern California. The word is out that you can ignore a red light camera ticket with little consequence (although this isn’t always the case, it’s becoming public perception) . Gardena police Lt. Mike Saffell wrote in his report to city council that since the time of the LA news about red light camera tickets, “several surrounding jurisdictions noticed that their monthly revenues from the Redflex program decreased.”
The real problem right now is the tremendous inconsistency we are seeing in the enforcement of red light camera tickets in Southern California. In many situations they can be ignored and in other situations the consequences can be a suspended license, a warrant, or a garnishment of your wages. The State Legislature should step in and just stop the insanity, but I doubt they will. Most likely we see this slowly play out case by case in the California Traffic Court system.