Hillsborough commissioners support continuing red-light cameras

04/02/14 Seán Kinane
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Tags: red-light cameras, Hillsborough County, Hillsborough County Sheriff, Hillsborough County Commission, Tampa, St. Petersburg


Protesters gather beneath four red light cameras at Dale Mabry & Waters in Tampa in 2011

photo by WMNF File Photo 2011

Red-light cameras are receiving scrutiny in the Florida legislature and cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg could soon wind down their programs. But in unincorporated Hillsborough County commissioners reiterated their support for the cameras today.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Greg Brown told the county commission the ten cameras installed at six locations in unincorporated Hillsborough County have resulted in fewer crashes.

Brown estimated it would cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to put enough officers to monitor those red lights in person rather than by camera. He said each camera costs $4500 per month. That comes out of the county’s general fund, which is also where revenue from red-light camera tickets is deposited. The county gets $75 for every ticket and the rest is split between the state and the private company that monitors the cameras. Commissioners supported continuing the program.

"We continue to look at that every year. We reevaluate it because in order to move the cameras it would cost the county about $30,000 to move a camera mid-contract so obviously we don't want to do that because it's a waste of money. It's not simple to just pick the camera up and move it, there's permitting and construction, infrastructure issues. We reevaluate that, we're currently doing that now. Our camera locations are all based on traffic crash data which I personally think is what should be driving it. I've seen jurisdictions add a lot of cameras and I really question the motive behind that because I should be able to show you that we've had this many crashes at this location and that's what we're worried about and that's what we're attacking. We are certainly not opposed to doing that, we look at reevaluating them each time and potentially moving them. We do have one intersection that is getting low on citations but unfortunately two of those video clips came out of that one low producing intersection. We have intersections too, when we're working with county traffic also we've recommended to them 'Can you put warning signs up earlier? Can you put different signage up? Can you put a bigger backdrop on the lights' and the county traffic personnel have been very receptive to everything we've asked them to do to try to drive down the number of crashes and citations."

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