Iowa City could become the sixth city in the state to install traffic enforcement cameras. Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine says the cameras would boost public safety and raise revenue for the city. But, city councilwoman Connie Champion says she’s unconvinced.
“I just don’t like it. I mean…I didn’t want cameras on the pedestrian mall and I don’t want them in our intersections,” Champion said. “I feel like we’re going into a dictatorship, like ‘we’re going to watch you no matter what you’re doing.'” The rest of the council voted Monday to further explore the potential use of traffic cameras.
It’s unclear just how much revenue the current proposal – red light cameras alone – would actually raise for Iowa City. Cedar Rapids has collected over $2 million in penalties in the last year, but nearly all of that came from speeding cameras along I-380. Cedar Rapids Police Chief Greg Graham told city leaders in Iowa City about the benefits of the cameras.
“Crashes are down, injuries are down, fatalities are down and our responses are down so we’re saving officers’ hours. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what’s important for this system. The byproduct is revenue, no question about it. And we’ve made a lot of revenue,” Graham said.
Cedar Rapids installed 19 traffic cameras last year. Davenport, Council Bluffs, Sioux City and Clive also have traffic cameras in place.