HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  June 2, 2015

Baltimore City Council: Need For Cash Fueled Faulty Speed Camera System

Investigation ignores accuracy concerns, call for fewer cameras.
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

I support The Real News Network because they do not just parrot the 24 hour news cycle of the mainst - David Pear
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


STEPHEN JANIS, TRNN CORRESPONDENT: As the city's expansive enforcement bureaucracy continues to look ineffective in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and a record month of violence in Baltimore, another less prominent facet of it, an extensive camera system which issues tickets for red lights and speeding, is being labeled as problem-plagued as well.

JAMES KRAFT, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN, 1ST DISTRICT: In hindsight, virtually everyone agrees that the program was too big. The Department of Transportation did not have proper personnel to handle it, and too few people were assigned solely to its operation.

JANIS: At a press conference Monday, City Council president Jack Young and councilman James Kraft released a special report outlining major problems with a system that has been previously cited as error-prone, and was ultimately shut down two years ago. Among them, the fact that the system which an audit found had an error rate of 10 percent was understaffed, overexpansive, and driven by money, not safety.

KRAFT: When the difficulties began with Xerox, the Department of Transportation had an opportunity to reevaluate the program and determine how it should best be operated. It is our belief that the short-sighted demand for immediate revenue generation not only prevented DOT from availing itself from this chance, but also stifled any serious consideration of it.

JANIS: In fact similar to the city's police department, which is the second-largest per capita in the country, the report found Baltimore City has one of the largest speed camera programs nationwide, but it was staffed by people without the expertise to run it.

KRAFT: We had what has been described by many people during this process as the largest program in North America. We had no one really qualified to run it.

JANIS: And despite its size, the report found the system had inadequate checks and balances on where cameras were placed, and why.

KRAFT: Site selection should never be made simply upon the request or demand of an elected official, regardless of who that official may be.

JANIS: And even the accuracy of this system, which a Baltimore Sun investigation found issued a speeding ticket to a parked car, received little scrutiny.

QUESTION: Did your investigation reach any findings about how widespread the errors were?


JANIS: Instead, the Council simply recommended restarting the program without any new checks and balances, just better-trained staff and less emphasis on revenue. Still, Councilman James Kraft admitted in the end the decision to turn the cameras back on would not be up to him, but the Mayor. And so far, the Mayor's office is not commenting.

KRAFT: Well, a mayor's role is the same as any, the Mayor's role in any program. If the Mayor supports a program, you have it. If the Mayor doesn't support a program, you don't.

JANIS: Stephen Janis, reporting with Megan Sherman, for The Real News Network in Baltimore.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

God and Guns: The Fanatical Faith of the NRA
What Netanyahu's Growing Corruption Scandal Means for the Region
Employers Steal $15B From Low Wage Workers Each Year
For 2018, Top Democrats Follow the Big Money
The Nation's Strongest Charter School Regulations Are Under Attack
What's Behind the Taliban's Call for Talks?
Will Trump's Latest Attack on Obamacare Strike a Death Blow?
Russian Espionage, or Clickbait? (1/2)
Baltimore's Metro Shutdown Underscores City's Transportation Problem (2/2)
Improving Baltimore's Schools Will Take More Than Just Money
Safe Streets in America's 'Most Dangerous City'
How Billy Graham Evangelized for American Empire
State's Attorney's Office fires prosecutor amid Gun Trace Task Force controversy, lawyers call shenanigans
Saudi Arabia's Unholy Alliance with Israel
Can Trump's Neocons Exploit Russiagate? (2/2)
Once a Poster Child for Austerity, Latvia Becomes a Hotbed of Corruption
Is Russia a Threat?
Why is a Russian Troll Farm Being Compared to 9/11?
Wilkerson: The Trump-Netanyahu Iran Plan Means War
President Ramaphosa: From Militant Revolutionary to Corporate Magnate
Were Baltimore's Corrupt Cops High When They Made Attempted Murder Arrest?
Baltimore's Metro Shutdown Underscores City's Transportation Problem (1/2)
Empire Files: In the Deadliest Country for Unions & Social Leaders
A New 'Cancer Alley' for Appalachia
Colombian Peace Agreement with FARC on the Brink of Collapse
Philippine War on Drugs a Cover for President Duterte's Fascism?
Mother of Woman Shot by Baltimore County Police Speaks Out
South Africa: Criminality and Deep Rot in the ANC Will Continue Under New President Ramaphosa (2/2)
Do Russiagate Skeptics Go Too Far?
The Return of Berlusconi: Can A Fractured Left Defeat Him?,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting