Chicago getting Serious about their Crime Wave of Running Red Lights

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 13th, 2013

Week in Review

Some describe the gun violence problem in Chicago as epidemic.  Blaming the lack of jobs for young men.  And the lure of big money working in the drug trade.  Aware of this problem, the mayor of Chicago is focusing his efforts on catching those people running red lights (see New Chicago speed cameras capture more than 200,000 violations in just 45 days by Eric Pfeiffer posted 10/12/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Newly installed speed cameras in Chicago have tallied up some eye-catching numbers, with more than 200,000 violations captured at just four sites ” during the past 45 days…

So far, the city has only been issuing warnings to errant drivers caught on camera. If those warnings had been actual tickets, they would have amounted to $13.9 million in fines in just over a month. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he expects the new speed camera system to generate about $15 million in revenue before the end of the year, once the warning system transitions to issuing actual tickets after October 21.

An analysis from ABC News says that if the violations remain roughly on the same pace through 2014, the program will generate revenue “well above” the $40 to $60 million estimated by Emanuel…

Chicago has said that it plans to use the money generated from its speed cameras to invest in safety initiatives, after school programs, job initiatives and other funding projects.

Really?  You would think that he would want to use that $40-$60 million to shrink the $330 million budget deficit.  Or to apply to their $19.5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for city, municipal, police, fire and labor workers.  You’d think these were the reasons to install these cameras.  Strictly for the revenue.  For, let’s face it, once drivers get burnt a few times they’re all going to start driving the speed limit.  And that revenue won’t be anywhere near their rosy projections.

Assume they hit their revenue target, though.  Is that a good thing?  Pulling $40-$60 million of economic activity out of the Chicago economy?  I mean, if that money goes to the government no one will be spending it in local businesses.  Perhaps causing some businesses to lay off some workers.  Or, at the least, preventing businesses from growing and hiring new workers.

Also, those cameras may cause some people to slam on the breaks at yellow lights. Paranoid about getting a ticket.  And seeing their insurance rates rise.  Which can be a problem for the car behind them.  Whose driver is not expecting anyone to slam on the brakes the moment the light turns from green to yellow.

You know what would be a better idea?  Balancing their budget.  Only promising pensions they can afford to pay.  And NOT spending the money in pension trust funds.  You do that and you won’t need any revenue-generating camera system.  And you don’t have to anger the police union for replacing cops with cameras.

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