On North Avenue and Harlem Avenue as well as on Lake Street in River Forest, you can find cameras mounted on a light pole.
No, they’re not security cameras. They’re red-light cameras.
What if I told you those red- light cameras brought in over $5.2 million in citations since 2014?
Safe Speed, LLC, the owner of the cameras has annually averaged $1.37 million in citations for the cameras located in River Forest since the start of 2014. The North Avenue and Harlem Avenue camera has issued enough citations to be one of the top four cameras in Chicagoland according to the Wednesday Journal, a news source for River Forest and Oak Park.
Red-light cameras may be annoying cash cows for River Forest and other cities, but they are in place to attempt to keep the streets safe. From streets signs announcing the camera to signals from your car telling you a red-light camera is ahead, the goal is to lower the risk of accidents and keep people safe.
A leader of Dominican’s Commuter Student Association (CSA) has mixed feelings about the cameras. “They are producing profits more than protecting drivers,” says CSA Secretary Sailly Rivera.
But despite how annoying the camera may be—which are $100 per violation—safety is a factor.
“I do agree that red light cameras help make roads safer,” Rivera said. “Red light camera enforcement is designed to increase safety on Chicago streets by reducing the most dangerous types of crashes at intersections.”
A sta member at Dominican says the cameras have improved her driving. “A positive is that I feel it has changed driving behaviors,” said Carol Seley, Dominican’s Director of Risk Management. “Instead of increasing speed when a light is yellow to get through the light, I know I now think rst to stop.”
There are other villages along Harlem Avenue that also have red light cameras—and 91.2 percent of citations issued in River Forest, North Riverside and Berwyn were issued for improper right-hand turns on red. River Forest has issued almost $4.6 million in tickets for right-hand turn violations at just those two intersections. Also, data shows that these illegal traffic violations do not lead to accidents according to the Wednesday Journal.
So next time that light goes yellow, really think about if you want to make it. Because instead of buying a new pair of shoes, you will be paying that ticket.