Government predators love their spy cameras
The City of Dayton issued a record number of speeding tickets in 2012. Excuse me for discussing numbers, but they are astounding. The Dayton Daily News reports, “The number of speeding tickets issued in Dayton increased nearly 1,400 percent to 58,325 since the city added speed cameras to some of its busiest streets two years ago.” Of those, 55,676 were automatically issued by 14 traffic cameras. That means police officers only issued 2,649 tickets. In 2010, before the cameras were installed, officers issued only 3,947 tickets. The total amount collected for camera tickets would be $4.52 million if compliance was 100 percent. The city receives 65 percent of each fine.
For comparison, Springfield, about half Dayton’s population, issued only 6,638 camera tickets. Police Chief Richard Biehl laughs all the way to the bank, but he kept a straight face when he claimed, “The purpose of using red light and speed enforcement cameras is to prevent accidents and save lives. The very presence of the cameras has been proven to change people’s dangerous driving habits. Since the red light cameras were installed in 2003, we have seen a noticeable reduction in light-running accidents at intersections where the cameras are in place, and a similar reduction in accidents citywide. We expect to see further reductions.”
Biehl is a politician like any other – all top bureaucrats must be politicians – so he set up a strawman argument and knocked it down. Nobody would disagree that cameras change people’s behavior. The real question is what is the motivation behind the cameras, and it’s demonstrably not safety.
First, the same behavior change and safety benefit could be achieved if the cameras issued a fraction of the tickets.
Second, if the chief really wanted to increase safety at these intersections, he could post a full time motorcycle cop with a radar gun at each. Nothing slows drivers down like a cop. But the cops couldn’t write 152 tickets a day, and cops cost money, so the city wouldn’t make nearly as much money. And many of the tickets they wrote would be challenged in criminal court. The camera tickets apply to civil, not criminal, court.
Finally, if politicians really cared about safety, they’d privatize the roads since government’s mismanagement of them kills about 40,000 Americans a year.
It’s obvious these cameras are purely for looting the people of Dayton.
A Hamilton County judge realizes this too. According to the Dayton Daily News, Judge Robert Ruehlman wrote in striking down the red light camera ordinance in Elmwood Place, “Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-card Monty. It is a scam that motorists can’t win.” These cameras are a scam. Taxes are unpopular, so politicians use fines to steal revenue to increase their personal standard of living, and then they systemically demonize the people they prey upon and pretend they – the predators – are the good guys.
The only good news on this front is state politicians are considering banning these cameras, but sponsor Ron Maag from Lebanon only wants to ban them because 35 percent of the ticket money goes to an Arizona company. A bipartisan group of Columbus politicians want an Ohio company, like Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS), to make the cameras so they can get crony kickbacks.
PSS is the company that makes the surveillance plane Dayton politicians want to spy on you. The Dayton Daily News reports Biehl tries to fool us by admitting PSS uses a Civil War era camera on the plane, “He showed the crowd sample images taken from a piloted PSS plane during last summer’s test of the technology. In those images, a suspect’s truck was a blurry white rectangle, and a person loading that truck was little more than a speck.” If this contract is approved, the first thing the police will do is upgrade that camera. PSS will replace it with a high resolution camera that will map every freckle on your daughter’s chest while she sunbathes in the backyard. The plan as presented is a scheme to get the nose of the camel into the tent. If that happens, aerial surveillance of Dayton will explode with perverts controlling drones spying on every backyard, bedroom and bathroom.
That’s because, since government encourages and legalizes perversion, perverts are attracted to work for government. Child molesters work for government schools. Molesters work for the Transportation Security Administration. Secret Service agents flock to brothels. Taxpayer funded porn swamps government computers.
Like in the movie Blue Thunder, peeping Toms like Roy Scheider’s character will control these spy systems to spy on your wives, daughters and sons.
This plan stinks of cronyism. Since PSS is local, it will kick money back to Dayton politicians. Spy planes have been around for decades – with better cameras – but even cities with more crime don’t use them. Cronyism is the only logical explanation why Dayton’s rulers want one.
Fortunately the people of Dayton rejected this plan. Let’s hope they force the removal of red light cameras next.