BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo city leaders could face an uphill battle convincing the community to support red light cameras.
Numbers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show communities across the country, including Rochester, have eliminated the cameras in recent years. In 2012, 533 communities used the traffic tool. As of July 2017, that number has dropped to 421.
Merely mention the cameras, and controversy follows.
“My problem with them is that they actually cause in my opinion more traffic collisions,” Varnel Floeurisma told News 4.
“A lot of these tickets are nonsense,” Larry Krieger suggested. He was longtime opponent of the cameras in Rochester, even suing the city.
Studies showed cameras cut crashes in Rochester intersections by nearly 21 percent. Red light running went down by 44 percent. Still, that didn’t stop the mayor from ending the program when the city’s contract with camera vendor Redflex expired at the end of 2016. The mayor said the red light cams unfairly targeted poorer neighborhoods in the city.
Buffalo University District Councilman Rasheed Wyatt says that concern will not stop him from fighting for the cameras.
“I think before when these things have happeened, there was no community input — no dialogue. Now, we’re talking. How do we make this so that it’s fair throughtout Buffalo and not just targeted to one community,” he asked.
Wyatt says he’s simply responding to pressure from consituents who believe something needs to be done to improve safety.
“Our streets are dangerous. People are driving too fast. They’re going through red lights. They’re going through stop signs,” Wyatt suggested.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety strongly supports the cameras.
“The whole idea of red light cameras is to be there, when the police can’t. Red light running goes down by about 40 percent immediately, and crashes go down by about 20-30 percent,” said Chuck Farmer, Insurance Institute vice president of research.
Buffalo leaders last considered the cameras in 2009. The cameras record vehicles and license plates. In most communities violators receive $50 tickets that are treated a lot like a parking ticket.