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posted: 11/18/2011 5:00 AM

Cameras in place where needed for safety

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I am writing in response to your Oct. 28 article that highlights the report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and implies that municipalities and red-light camera companies are putting profits over safety. While there may be some local government entities who selected less dutiful vendors or poorly negotiated contracts, that is not the case for everyone.

In 2008, Elk Grove Village initiated its first red-light cameras. After the cameras were activated, the village experienced a significant decline in crashes at those intersections. For the next year, our police department continued monitoring those intersections. In 2010, our elected officials identified a camera controlled intersection where crashes had stabilized and deactivated the red-light camera.

Before the cameras were in place in 2008, this intersection ranked fourth in crashes of all village intersections. By 2010, the red-light camera controlled intersection was no longer in our top 10 for crashes.

In the following year, police analyzed crash data to see if driver behavior remained modified once the cameras were removed from the intersection. A year later with the cameras removed, this intersection had three times the number of accidents compared to the previous year when the cameras were active, making this intersection the No. 1 crash location in the community. As a result of this information, we are in the process of reactivating cameras at this intersection.

Just like citations for speeding and not wearing your seat belt, red-light camera citations exist to change driver behavior. While some may not like the concept of red-light cameras or the concept of "Big Brother," it should be known that the sole purpose of Elk Grove Village's program is to enhance safety for all who live in our community and travel our streets.

Mayor Craig B. Johnson

Elk Grove Village

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