New Orleans has resembled a war zone in the last year. The city saw a spike in overall crime rates and the murder rate is now the most since 2012.
You would think that Mitch Landrieu would use this opportunity to focus on fighting crime. But instead, Landrieu is taking the opportunity to pick the pockets of New Orleans residents even more.
The city of New Orleans is going to be rolling out another 32 red light cameras in 2017.
From The Advocate:
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration, which announced this fall that the city would be expanding its traffic camera program in 2017, has released a list of 32 public and private schools where cameras will be helping to catch speeders and other traffic law violators in the new year.
Landrieu is pitching the expansion, which will nearly double the number of locations where speeders and red-light runners can be cited by cameras, as a safety measure, though it is also expected to help generate about $5 million a year in new revenue for the city.
[…]Starting on Jan. 9, the city will also begin using five mobile traffic cameras, primarily at sites where permanent cameras will eventually be placed, Jernigan said.
The Police Department will be responsible for deciding where those mobile cameras, along with five more that will come later, will be positioned, he said.
Landrieu proposed the traffic camera expansion as part of next year’s budget. The new cameras will bring in about $8 million total, though about $3 million of that will go toward paying the contractor and city staffers involved in the program.
Red light cameras are big business for politically connected contractors. City governments pay them millions to install the cameras and often use them to collect the fines.
These contracts are so lucrative that city politicians often shakedown the contractors who want to install them. The contractor responsible for installing Lafayette’s red light cameras was even sent to prison for bribing politicians in Ohio.
Despite the claims of safety by the Landrieu administration, studies have shown that red light cameras actually increase accidents. The most recent study was published 2014 that showed that the cameras increased rear end collisions in Chicago. It makes sense because as motorists see the red light camera sign, they slam on the brakes so they won’t get a ticket.
But are red light cameras the top priority for New Orleans? After all, the city is coming off a very violent Christmas week. There is also the problem of thugs shooting up French Quarter bars and hurting tourism.
New Orleans city government is supposed to provide the basics to its citizens: public safety and a good solid infrastructure such as roads and water/sewer in order to facilitate commerce and a good quality of life for its residents. But under Mitch Landrieu and his predecessors, the city has failed.
Instead New Orleans city government exists as a redistribution scheme that enriches the politically connected and powerful. The city’s focus on red light cameras instead of murderers is just another example of this.