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updated: 2/5/2014 6:06 PM

W. Dundee greenlights ongoing red light program

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  • West Dundee leaders this week opted to keep using red light cameras, like the one here at southbound Boncosky Road and Route 31.

       West Dundee leaders this week opted to keep using red light cameras, like the one here at southbound Boncosky Road and Route 31.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

Despite one camera being down and resulting in a big drop in catching scofflaws, West Dundee trustees have voted unanimously to continue its red-light camera program.

Revenue from fines captured through the camera remained about the same from 2012 to 2013, but officials insist it isn't about the money.

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"The purpose of those is not revenue generation -- it never has been it never will be, at least as long as I'm on the board," Trustee Tom Price said. "It's about safety and just availability of data for investigations.

"I think that people, knowing that they're in place, they will watch themselves and hopefully behave better and more responsibly in terms of the way they drive."

The lone camera the village now operates was installed at southbound Route 31 and Boncosky Road in 2008.

A second one had been used at northbound Route 31 and Route 72 since 2009 until it was deactivated in April 2013 due to the intersection's reconstruction. The village plans on going through the Illinois Department of Transportation to get that camera turned back on.

Documents show the cameras captured 746 total violations last year, down from 1,308 in 2012.

West Dundee also received $23,701 in revenue in 2013, a figure about $3,600 less than the money it secured in 2012.

Police say the figures are down due to increased driver awareness, the removal of the one camera at the village's busiest intersection and downtime that occurred as a result of camera upgrades and failures.

Revenue this year is expected to remain flat, but could increase if the camera at Route 31 and Route 72 goes back into service.

In terms of crash activity, there were five at Boncosky Road and Route 31 and 20 at Route 31 and Route 72 last year. In 2012, there were five at Boncosky Road and Route 31 and 36 at Route 31 and Route 72 -- the decrease at the latter intersection is largely due to the construction, the report said.

The camera's recording capabilities came in handy two years ago when a Chicago man led Carpentersville police on a drunken chase that carried into East Dundee and West Dundee, officials said.

The chase ended with the driver, Henry Benjamin III, crashing into a West Dundee squad car at Route 31 and Route 72. Three officers were injured, and the camera caught the tail end of the chase.

"You could clearly see the issue and the results and what transpired," Village Manager Joseph Cavallaro said.

Benjamin eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI and aggravated driving on a revoked license. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year.

The board receives the red-light reports every year from the police department, then makes a decision on whether to continue the program.

The money the cameras generate is used to offset the costs of the program and the staff time associated with reviewing footage.

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