I love the comments so far! (below)
The MNJ heading is a laugher, camera’s under attack? What about “the people” being under attack and businesses losing because of this. Oppression does not work, and the people have spoken! So why now does the State want to drag their feet?
Citizens I say!…..GET YOUR CAMERA’S ROLLING AND SEE HOW THEY LIKE IT!
When they find it intrusive to be STALKED like prey, maybe they will reconsider?
Starting March 21, people caught speeding through Lucas were fined $100. Two speed limit enforcement cameras were put up to help slow traffic and curb violations. / Dave Polcyn/News Journal
LUCAS — Legislation to ban speed cameras in Ohio recently moved to the state senate for a vote, but proceedings aren’t moving fast enough for those against the “speed traps.”
Two cameras in Lucas were vandalized twice in the last three weeks.
Several wires were cut on a speed camera placed near Lucas Local Schools around June 16. The camera, which was moved to Main Street near the post office, came under attack again over the weekend when someone placed duct tape over the lenses, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s report.
Now, OptoTraffic, the company that owns the cameras, is placing 24-hour surveillance cameras on the machines to protect against further damage, the sheriff’s office reported.
“Obviously the issue with the cameras is a touchy subject,” Lucas Mayor Todd Hall said. “People are going through great lengths to show their displeasure.”
And relief is not expected soon.
State Sen. Nina Turner estimated the Senate would not entertain the bill, which has bipartisan support, until the fall. She hoped the Senate focused on Medicaid expansion first.
“I know there was a lot of tension in the House about whether or not the cameras are there to protect the community or make money,” Turner said. “I want to hear both sides. I have not made up my mind.”
At least two different groups out of the Lucas area were quick to boycott what they refer to as “scam cams” when the cameras began ticketing in March.
One group, Lucas Ohio Scam Cam, operates a Facebook page petitioning against the cameras. The other group, which remains unnamed, sent out a mailing with the heading “Boycott Lucas” in late March.
Former Mayor John Finley also heads a committee to have the cameras banned from the village. He plans to place an initiative on the November ballot to reverse the ordinance allowing the cameras in the village if Ohio Bill 69 is rejected.
Finley also was among several people throughout the state who testified against the cameras during the Ohio House Transportation Committee hearing.
“There are no independent or government studies providing that these cameras improve safety, according to the National Motorist Association,” Finley testified. “Lawmakers, please stop the cam scam and show support of the U.S. Constitution.”
Lucas is not the only village wrestling with controversies over the camera.
A Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge recently ruled against the cameras in the southwest Ohio village and ordered it to reimburse all speeding fines collected after his March 7 ruling. A total of $48,000 was to be returned to motorists, according to published reports.
But Hall said the cameras have made a difference in village safety, namely by forcing motorists to slow down or risk being fined.
“By the numbers, it’s obvious people are driving slower,” Hall said. “With the unit on West Main, the first couple of days, 21 percent of vehicles were speeding. At the end of the first period when the camera was moved, 8 percent were speeding.”
The cameras have proved to be a financial help to the village as well. Lucas already has accrued about $135,000 in fines over the past three-and-a-half months.
From March 21 to June 26, the village issued 2,254 violations — 998 in April, 744 in May and 512 in June, Village Administrator Tim Stallard said.
Each violation generates $60 for the village. The remaining $40 goes to OptoTraffic.
About 316 additional violations were picked up by the cameras but dismissed because photos were unclear or there was not enough evidence of the violation, according to Stallard’s records.
Some of those violations were dismissed during the village’s first traffic violation hearing June 11, where 39 people contested their ticket for an additional cost of $25. A second hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Hall said.
Motorists who already were issued a ticket by the Richland County Sheriff’s Office also were exempted from numbers, Hall said.
A record of traffic violations in the Lucas area from March 21 to June 26, obtained through a public information request, showed the sheriff’s office issued 357 tickets.
“The sheriff’s office has stepped up their efforts,” Hall said.
Hall had cited the reduced patrolling by the sheriff’s office as one of the village’s main reasons for erecting the cameras in March.
The village pays the sheriff’s office to patrol for at least three hours a day, according to their contract.
“If (the cameras) are banned altogether we’ll look at alternate means for traffic safety,” Hall said. “We’re looking into how much it would cost for Lucas to get their own police department.”
firstname.lastname@example.org 419-521-7205 Twitter: @njKaitlinDurbin
D’Aunn Gullett Sallee · Magnolia High School, Anaheim, CaliforniaYeah, those cameras are a bunch of crap….my husband got a $100 dollar ticket going thru that one horse town…..he was going 45 mph instead of 35….he was slowing down, but not fast enough, I guess……hey, Lucas……keep my granddaughters out of your bar…..15 and 16 year olds and they let them in……no city cop, so that does the city no good……does any of the residents know the Robinson kids?…..they have been abandoned by their mother and live on the street behind the main drag in town…….always a drinking party there and NEVER had the sheriff called on them……Childrens Services have been called on them 3 times, but they let them know they are coming and “MOM” comes home and says all is well……come on neighbors, you have to know what’s going on and you look away……even a felon is there at times……….do your duty…..forget the damn cameras……worry about what is going on around you……if a bunch of young kids around me were parting and no adult there you better believe I would call the authorities…..it just could be one of your kids……is it called “The Bow”….your hometown bar?…….check it out…….my 3 grandkids…….16, 17, and 19 year olds getting drunk there and not a damn thing done about it……..sad……I have been thru Lucas only one time and will never go thru it again……. it seems like the “in and out signs” are on the same post……..I live in Willard, in case you want to know……P.S. What does “Lucas” do with all the “scam cam” money ????…..See More
Peggy Goldberg · Top Commenter · Ships Captain at Maersk Line Shipping CompanyHeres how much money your towns businesses lost just from me, twice I needed gas, near empty, twice I took the chance and kept going…got it in Perrysville. Could of used a few odds and ends on my way thru going home, decided that even thou Loundonville is way out of my way I went there to get my items, then drove 10 miles home. My vehicle needs about $54 each fill up, my odds and ends ran $62,,, and the last trip thru your town I didn’t go, took the scenic route thru the side roads. And I put along at 30 to 40 on every road holding up traffic….cause I can….speeding never in 46 years of driving…impede traffic…oh hell yes…never drive any faster than you can think,,,,,don’t know a soul that can think at 55.
Karen Robinson · FollowFollowing · Top CommenterI know I no longer buy gas or sundries, no longer go to any ballgames, no longer get pizza there, and go through Lucas if it’s my last resort. I stood up at the beginning and vocalized the need for cameras and then got one of the first tickets…..cruise control was set at 35 and they said I was going 47…totally bogus! I have always watched going through Lucas and will never support this town again. When the cameras are deemed illegal I will file a suit to get my money back…which was gained illegally and I hope others follow the action. Anything I need to purchase is now obtained in Mansfield or I wait till I get to Perrysville and Loudonville…towns that are flourishing because of Lucas’s mistake.
Jodie Fry · Top Commenter · Lexington, OhioAll it is going to accomplish is less revenue for Lucas as most people will just use an alternate route. Teey will eventually have to reimburse people the fines they collected illegally. If i am not mistaken, Legislature is already voting these types of thing unconstitutional.