The City of Northlake has taken the red light cameras at Railroad Avenue and North Avenue and Railroad Avenue and Lake Street out of service. While safety is an important concern and is certainly a justification to have these cameras, the simple fact is that without the revenue generated by these cameras, very few, if any municipalities would have these systems installed.

The overwhelming majority of the tickets (revenue) generated by these cameras are the right turn on red violation where an unsuspecting motorist gets hit with a fine for not completely stopping, stopping past the white line or some other minor act that the motorist is not even aware of until they review the incident on the recording.

The City of Northlake made the policy decision not to issue violations for these types of offenses, equating them to a “sucker punch” and fundamentally a way to pick people’s pockets as they passed through town. In my opinion, the City of Chicago’s program for speeding cameras in the name of safety is a similar money grab.

Without the revenue generated by the “right on red” violations, the cameras in Northlake did not generate any revenue for the City, since under the agreement with the camera company, any revenue went first towards the installation and operating costs, with the remainder going to the City of Northlake. In our case, there was no “remainder.” In fact, the system was costing the City in processing fees, court time and police time.

While there is a good argument that these cameras promote public safety, I doubt that anyone would install these systems without the benefit of the “sucker punch” revenue derived from the right on red violations.

May you and your loved ones have a happy and healthy holiday season.

About City of Northlake