1/2/2011Traffic Camera Attacks on the Rise in US
Vigilantes strike speed and red light cameras in California, Louisiana, South Carolina and France.
Over the past several years, vigilantes in Australia and Europe have destroyed hundreds of speed cameras. Until recently, such attacks remained rare in the United States. Last week, however, photo enforcement devices were taken out in California, Louisiana and South Carolina compared to a single camera in France.
In New Orleans, Louisiana vigilantes on Thursday used a favored tactic of bending the traffic cameras used by American Traffic Solutions (ATS) so that they faced the ground. The devices were located at Canal Boulevard and Harrison Avenue as well as Harrison Avenue and Marconi Drive, according to WVUE-TV. The same tactic has been used in Arizona, Australia, California and England. For good measure, the vigilantes also spraypainted the camera lenses black. ATS employees were dispatched to repair the devices, but officials have no idea who might be responsible.
In Vista, California, just north of San Diego, vigilantes on Friday used a large rock to knock over a red light camera, the North County Times reported. The automated ticketing machine was located on North Santa Fe Avenue and Vista Village Drive.
On Monday, a motorist rammed one of the two renegade speed cameras operated by the private company iTraffic in Ridgeland, South Carolina, the Beaufort Gazette reported. According to the state attorney general, Ridgeland is violating a state law passed specifically prohibiting the town from mailing citations (view opinions). Mayor Gary Hodges remains defiant, claiming a "top legal mind" told him the system was legal. Although Hodges claims an operator sitting in the recreational vehicle personally witnesses each alleged violation, the officer paid by iTraffic did not see a motorist scatter the speed camera all across Interstate 95. The driver got away unobserved.
In Maleville, France, vigilantes hit the speed camera on the RD1 between Villefranche and Lanuejouls, Midi Libre reported. The lens of the device was obscured, in an attack similar to one carried out at the same location in October.