Some call it Big Brother. Others say it’s an effective way to harness new technology in cracking down on law-breakers. Council Bluffs is the latest Iowa city considering mounting digital cameras at problem intersections to photograph the license plates of vehicles running red lights. Council Bluffs traffic superintendent Blake Redfield says tickets would be sent directly to the owners of the offending vehicles.Redfield says cities in other states that have implemented the camera-cops have seen a 60-percent reduction in the number of red light runners. He says national statistics indicate as many as 900 people died nationwide and 200-thousand were hurt — just by motorists running red lights. Redfield says Council Bluffs police wrote some 760 citations for red light running last year alone. He says the cameras would only be put up at problem intersections. Redfield says the cameras could cost 50-to-100-thousand dollars per intersection. Red light cameras are now in use in at least 90 cities in 14 states — but none in Iowa. He says the Council Bluffs city council heard a presentation last week from a California company that would install and run the system, which many see as a worthwhile expenditure. He says it’s one of those things that’s not going to go away, and he says police don’t have the time to do a lot of enforcement, so this is the only feasible way to solve the problem.Davenport plans to be the first city in Iowa to implement such a system, which should be running by June. Tickets for running red lights there will set motorists back 65-dollars each. Across the river from Council Bluffs, Omaha (Nebraska) has cameras at about 30 intersections, but they’re only used to activate left-turn arrows and side-street signals, not to catch red-light runners.
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