8/31/2007California: Senior Citizen Community Issues Traffic Tickets
Speed traps, red light camera tickets pad the budget for Laguna Woods Village senior center in California.
Drivers in the City of Laguna Woods, California are finding themselves hit with traffic tickets as private cops set 15 MPH speed traps within the gates of Laguna Woods Village, a four square mile retirement community that is home to 18,000 residents with an average age of 78. It is one of the largest senior homeowners associations in the country, and it is earning significant revenue from traffic tickets.
The village hired a 100-man private patrol using the $500 landscaping and security fee paid by residents. This provides a $90 million budget for the senior center, but additional funds come by means of $75 and $125 traffic tickets as well as a four-hour traffic school for $20. In the past two years, the village has tripled ticket revenue from $23,677 to $67,652.
The village claimsthat it has the right to ticket resident motorists as a private homeowners association. Several residents intend to challenge that authority.
"What they're doing out here is penal code law enforcement activity without law enforcement training," resident Larry Johnston told the Orange County Register. "They're just making their own laws and saying it's OK because it's private property."
Laguna Woods also uses red light cameras from Australian vendor Redflex. The cameras are placed on a road designed to catch morning commuters headed toward Aliso Viejo. Cameras are located at Moulton and El Toro as well as Moulton and Gate 12.