Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson recently announced a slew of new speed cameras are to be placed in county school zones. City and county officials never refer to the millions of dollars they pick from the pockets of motorists each year, preferring to fall back on saying the cameras are for "children" and "safety" to justify the camera program.
However, jurisdictions have come to rely on the revenue from the cameras. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake expressed surprise at just how many millions the cameras provided last year.
I have a question about the speed camera program that I have not seen any official address: How many children were killed or injured by motorists in school zones (those now covered by cameras) in the five years before the first cameras were installed and how many since?
The Police Department produces hundreds of statistics each month for the crime reports so it shouldn't be difficult for the department to track the accidents. I think the public would be surprised at the answers, if they are not "cooked" but provided honestly and objectively.
In my opinion, the speed cameras are simply a money-grab, nothing else — excepting those in highway work zones, so long as workers are on the job and not the middle of the night. As long as the public is compliant the counties and the city will grab more and more, always, of course, on behalf of "safety" and "the children."
Robert A. Erlandson