I’ve written a couple of blogs on the subject of red light cameras in Columbia, questioning the City Manager’s assessment of their effectiveness. You can read them HERE and HERE. I contend, and the city’s own documents support the fact, that red light cameras do not keep us safe from accidents at intersections. Instead, these Orwellian tools serve only to extract a profit for international corporate giant, Gatso, and the City of Columbia. Along with financial profits, the cameras added over $80,000 to the city budget and bureaucracy which gives a boost to the resume of any up and coming assistant city manager.
While accidents at some of the surveilled intersections did decrease, others stayed relatively static or saw marked increases under the watchful eye of the cameras.
And let us not forget that red light cameras represent one more step in the ever encroaching tide of government surveillance. In a few short years our local government has embraced iris scanners, license plate readers, downtown surveillance cameras, and red light cameras all in the name of public safety. None of these “tools” have made us safer. Instead they have moved us closer to the day when government officials can track us from the moment we leave the house until the moment we return home.
With this in mind, Keep Columbia Free and Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) will begin collecting signatures for a proposed red light camera ban in Columbia. Several other municipalities around the state and around the country have banned red light cameras and it’s time Columbia did the same.
We’ll be gathering signatures all over town soon. If you want to sign the petition, check our contact us page and drop a line one way or another.