Should-red-light-cameras-come-back-to-Charlotte-intersections? - | WBTV Charlotte

Should red light cameras come back to Charlotte intersections?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A driver running a red light in Charlotte is not an uncommon sight. Which is why some city council members are batting around an idea to bring back red light cameras.

“I’m interested particularly because a lot of people have noticed that people run red lights in Charlotte and there doesn’t seem to be a consequence for it, along with speeding” said council member Julie Eiselt.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney met with the Charlotte City Council Community Safety Committee to give an update about community police, and also the department's social media.

Committee members wanted to know if there was technology the department needed but didn’t have. Council member Eiselt asked about red light cameras.

Charlotte used to have the cameras at certain intersections but CMPD had to remove them. Council members are wondering if the time has come to bring back red light cameras.

“I know there is some legislative reasons we moved away from them but they do seem very encouraged and interested in it and I’m very supportive” Chief Putney said.

Council members say with crime on the rise in Charlotte, police need to be in areas dealing with violence that need their attention. They said with miles upon miles of streets and roads in the city, officers cannot man all intersections to watch for traffic violations.

“As we think about the need we have for police officers we’re trying to fulfill a human need for more officers that was bench marked in 2008 so we’re just trying to catch up with 2008,” Council Member Eiselt said. “So when we think about how we use our human resources in the police department we need those in the most intense areas where you really need that person to person contact, relationship building with neighborhoods and communities and so we have to look at technology to fill the void at the places where police can’t be all the time.”

Chief Putney said the department is seeing an increase in traffic collisions. He said when red light cameras were up, there was a reduction in crashes and fatalities.

“The data speaks for itself. Initially, it reduces crashes and especially your fatalities but your crashes by upwards of 30 percent and that is your initial roll out and you’re able to maintain that pretty consistently because people know automatically if I run this light I probably am gonna get caught and cited” the Chief said.

But for now, the return of the cameras is just an idea.

"The hindrance is the financing of it. The equipment – the cities would have to pay for. The revenues from the tickets goes to the state," Council Member Eiselt said. "Apparently the state would then pass on that revenue to the school system I believe at the state level. And so we wouldn’t be even to cover the cost of those cameras and the data storage itself."

Eiselt said the next step would be for council members to speak with the local delegation to the General Assembly to see how they can make the red light cameras a reality again.  

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