Are Traffic Cameras Racist?

Martin Austermuhle, Dcist, June 8, 2006

Drivers in the District now know that running a red light or speeding is a riskier proposition that it was in years past—with the city’s fast-growing deployment of automated traffic cameras, very little is getting by the man. And though plenty of people have complained that the cameras are more a means to increase revenue than to promote public safety, some are now claiming that race has become a factor in where the cameras are located.

The Washington Times is reporting today that some drivers are complaining that traffic cameras are disproportionately located in the city’s African American neighborhoods. In response to the reported $3.3. million in revenue the cameras brought the city in March of this year, one African American motorist stated: “That $3.3 million was generated off the back of the black community,” said Mr. Dunn, 43, who is black.

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Of course, police officials dispute the accusations, noting that the speed enforcement zones are set up in areas where repeated complaints of speeding are reported.

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