4PM – BREAKING: L.A. City Controller Releases Audit of City’s Red Light Camera (HEAR CONTROLLER’S PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO, HERE.)

From: LAPD BLOG:

CITY CONTROLLER RELEASES AUDIT OF CITY’S PHOTO RED LIGHT CAMERA PROGRAM

Cameras Meant to Reduce Accidents Have Not Been Placed at Most Dangerous Intersections

Blog Photos 007 September 29, 2010 – City Controller Wendy Greuel was joined by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and City Councilmember Dennis Zine to release an audit of the effectiveness of the City’s Photo Red Light Program (PRLP). The City currently has 32 cameras installed at intersections throughout Los Angeles, which as intended to reduce traffic accidents by catching drivers who break the law running red lights.

However, the audit found the red light cameras have not been installed at the City’s most dangerous 32 intersections. There were numerous reasons for this, including placing at least one red light camera in each of the Council Districts, weak infrastructure at some locations and not wanted to conduct the additional analyses required for State controlled-intersections.

Blog Photos 012 “If public safety is the number one priority of the Photo Red Light Program then the most dangerous intersections should be selected, period,” said City Controller Greuel. “Regardless of the reasons, the cameras are only effective if they are placed at the most dangerous intersections. If we don’t use them effectively we are putting Angelenos lives in danger.”

While there have been no fatalities at monitored intersections since the current contract was implemented in 2006, the audit found the PRLP cannot document conclusively an increase in public safety and a more comprehensive approach to evaluating the PRLP is needed. There was only a reduction in traffic accidents at 50% of the intersections with red light cameras for the six months after a camera was installed when compared with the six months before it was installed.

“I believe any program that can prevent accidents and prevent even one fatality from occurring is worthwhile,” Controller Greuel said. “However, we must be transparent about the cost to the City during these dire economic times.”

In addition the City has expended $2.6 million to operate the red light camera program over the past two years. However, having these cameras allows police officers to help fight crime in other parts of the City. If the cameras were not installed it would require more than 100 motor officers with salaries in excess of $10 million dollars to monitor the 32 PRLP intersections.

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