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The St. Joseph City Council and Police Department face what seems to us to be an easy decision.

Option No. 1: Pull down the red-light cameras placed at two Belt Highway intersections in partnership with a private, for-profit business. Acknowledge the courts have said cities in Missouri have no authority to issue citations they can’t or won’t back up with penalty “points” added to drivers’ licenses.

Option No. 2: Leave the cameras up and continue longing for the day when some majority of legislators decides to pass a new law allowing the collection of fines without any finding that a specific driver did something wrong. Or perhaps, like Kansas City, consider doubling down on intrusive technology by deploying facial recognition software in an effort to meet the law’s requirements.

We choose the first option, and we think it wise for the city to do the same sooner than later.

Something tells us that in the unlikely event red-light cameras ever gain favor from state lawmakers, the vendor will be more than happy to return to our city, assist with getting the equipment reinstalled, and once again start collecting a share of fine money from the driving public.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a division that has formed in America: cities with and without red-light cameras. Seven states currently ban these devices, and others including Florida and Ohio are considering it.

Voters in Houston banned the cameras four years ago after having them for four years. Los Angeles withdrew the cameras after deploying them for more than a decade. San Diego followed. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 32 cities have taken this step since 2012.

The reasons vary: In some locales, such as Los Angeles, the devices were found to be ineffective in improving safety. In others, such as Florida, studies have found an increase in rear-end crashes at the monitored intersections.

And then there is the widely held view these cameras, whatever their impact on driver behaviors, would not exist if not for their ability to produce revenue for the vendor and the cities that use them. In St. Joseph, through the 11 months the cameras were in use, net proceeds to the city totaled nearly $100,000 from 3,100 car owners who were assessed fines.

The cameras’ merits as a safety step will continue to be debated.

Meanwhile, the convenience of being able to issue thousands of tickets at just two intersections — and in the process produce tens of thousands of dollars in revenue — must be reconciled with the reality these citations do not meet a minimal standard of state law.

(7) comments


Where are the 10-20 additional city police cars and policemen that were proposed when the tax increased passed. All I've heard that the money has been spent on is wage increases for 300 plus employees at city hall, and like a $500,000 expense at Missouri Theater to upgrade equipment. The tax increase was promoted as a Safety Tax with money locked in for Police and Fire. Sounds like the norm it went to the General Fund.


They should take down the RLC.

Too often most of the "violation" are technical:

1. right turns on red
2. stopping on or over the stop line.
3. split second that longer ambers would better stop.

RLC are NOT about "safety". They are worse than Carpet Baggers selling "magic cures".

camerafraud on Facebook


I believe at least one of the St. Joseph City Council members who supported these was ousted from office last election after serving only one term. Keep up the good work. Identify these human t*rds by their voting records and get them all out of our lives.


My aunt in CA received a huge fine because the person in front of her unexplainedly slowed or stopped, leaving her stuck in the intersection to be snapped by these cameras, but she was completely legal going into the intersection. It was repeatedly brought up in these forums that many municipalities were having to have their cameras removed due to constitutional and civil rights issues, back when our own City Counsel were contemplating putting ours in. But like usual, instead of keeping the citizens best interests before them, they can't see past the $$$ signs in front of their eyes...

Our founders designed this Republic so that innocent civilians lives would be private, and the dealings of public servants (government) would be transparent. Today, the powers that be have done their best to see that those roles have been reversed. We today are starting to more resemble Berlin, East Germany than the USA that I grew up in... Google: InfoWars Dot Com.

Anybody supporting these intrusions into our privacy should be removed from their position of public trust. Perhaps the cameras should be aimed back at them instead, under the premise, "If they're not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about...". Could have come at handy at the SJSD's BOE back room, eh..?


You might find this story on ABC news interesting. Talks about the Inaccuracy of Red Light cameras. Up to 50%


News-PressNOW is correct to endorse option 1 to end the use of red light cameras in St. Joseph AND every other city the nation.

Red light cameras produce profits ONLY when they ticket mostly safe drivers with 1) yellow intervals deliberately mis-engineered to be too short for the ACTUAL approach speeds of at least 85% of the vehicles and/or 2) ticket drivers for slow rolling right on red turns which federal research proves almost never cause crashes.

AND, it is common for the cameras to raise the total crash rates when drivers panic brake to avoid tickets due to the too short yellow intervals. It is ludicrous to call a program that raises the crash rates a "safety program" - it is NOT true.

Residents should call all the elected officials and top police officials in St. Joseph to insist the camera program be ended permanently. ACTION on the phone may help end the cameras, inaction is likely to keep them in place.

James C. Walker, Life Member - National Motorists Association


Traffic tickets serve at least 3 purposes, 1 is of course to get the driver's attention to change their operating methods, 2 generate revenue, 3 Officer interaction. Automated ticketing serves but one, the revenue stream. That is all they are and all that they will ever be. I have video of the before and after that clearly shows the yellow light time allows no time to clear the intersection after the cameras were installed. It is entrapment, plain and simple. I urge several others to take a little time to video either intersection now for future reference.

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