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Red-light cameras may ease in Mesa

Posted: September 1st, 2007 @ 10:36pm

Source: Betty Beard, The Arizona Republic (May 22, 2001)

Some of Mesa's red-light cameras are working so well that police are talking about disconnecting them.

But before motorists get too cocky, they also need to know that Mesa officers propose expanding the hours and locations of their photo-radar vans to catch more speeders, especially in school zones and neighborhoods.

Lockheed Martin IMS, the company operating the cameras, has been losing money on five of the city's 17 cameras and is asking the city to disconnect them, Mesa police Cmdr. Richard Clore said. The cameras snap pictures of people who run red lights and of their license plate numbers.

The company gets reimbursed $48.50 a ticket and was expecting to nab about 18 violators a day. In some cases, it's only catching one person a day. Clore said that may be because the city recently lengthened its yellow lights by a second.

"From a public safety perspective, we can call this a success," Clore said. "But from the vendor's point of view, I imagine they are not happy."

He said he doesn't yet know which intersections would be affected. The camera housings would remain in place so motorists might not notice.

As for the photo-radar vans, police propose expanding the hours to 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and sending them to more streets. Now they operate between 5 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and only on major streets such as Broadway Road and Country Club Drive.

The changes will need approval from the Mesa City Council. The council's police committee will consider the proposed changes today.

Reach the reporter at betty.beard@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-7982.

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