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California, UK Vigilantes Strike Cameras
Vigilantes spin a red light camera in Santa Maria as vigilantes eliminate 57 cameras in Kent and Medway, UK.

Traffic cameras targeted
Vigilantes in Santa Maria, California ensured that the city's latest automated ticketing blitz got off to a bad start. Over the weekend, the newly installed red light camera at the intersection of Miller Street and Stowell Road that focused on drivers making right-hand turns was slammed toward the sky, only capable of photographing speeding birds. Another unaffected camera at the same intersection began issuing $396 tickets on Monday.

In April, a similar attack disabled a camera in Tuscon, Arizona operated by ATS. Santa Maria's camera is operated by the financially troubled Nestor Inc.

Santa Maria had been depending on an estimated $237,600 in monthly revenue from its new photo ticketing syatem, based on early testing results. Half of the projected profit came from car owners ticketed after their vehicle slowed before making right-hand turns on red. Santa Maria hopes to install cameras at three more intersections to help address budgetary shortfalls. The city's first camera began issuing tickets one year ago.

In Kent and Medway, UK several cameras are being destroyed each and every month. In just the last three years, Kent and Medway Speed Camera Partnership data show 57 automated ticketing machines have been taken out of action. Kent News reported the most recent incidents involved the spraypainting of camera lenses at Snodhurst Bottom in Walderslade and Maidstone Road in Chatham.

Source: SM red-light cameras ready for business (Lompoc Record (CA), 6/3/2008)

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