Vandals Strike Out at Speed Cameras

Attacks didn't disrupt routine operations, police say.

Speed cameras are good at nailing motorists exceeding the speed limit in Baltimore County school zones, but not so effective in helping catch vandals.

Two of the county's 15 speed cameras have been vandalized since the program to monitor speeds in school zones began nearly a year ago, according to Lt. Robert McCullough, a police spokesman.

In both cases, police have not made an arrest and are asking for tips that could lead them to the vandals. 

In one incident, someone spray painted the camera located in the 7400 block of North Point Road near Sparrows Point High School. The camera issued 462 tickets through Nov. 30, ranking 14th out of 15 cameras in the county, according to statistics released earlier this year.

Another camera, located in the 9800 block of Greenside Drive near Padonia Elementary School, had the protective cover over its lens cracked. The camera issued more than 6,200 tickets through Nov. 30, tops among all 15 units, according to those same statistics.

McCullough said he was not able to immediately provide information on when the cameras were damaged or how the vandalism was first discovered. That information might be available later this week, he said.

Both units were repaired at the expense of ACS State and Local Solutions, which owns the units, McCullough said.

Baltimore County rents each of the units from ACS State and Local Solutions for about $11,995 per camera per month.

McCullough, in an e-mail, wrote that "the damage did not interfere with our routine operations."

The two county units are not the only ones to feel the wrath of vandals.

The Frederick News-Post reported Tuesday that one of its two school zone cameras was damaged in the early morning hours of June 11.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 410-307-2020.

Sean Tully June 20, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Gil, If you would have looked one post up, you would have seen where the "driving is necessity" discussion really started: "Driving is a necessity, you cannot work without the ability to get there and back." Mike Lurz 2:10pm on Friday, June 17, 2011
Gil June 20, 2011 at 10:31 PM
I stand corrected but still of the belief that driving is a necessity. How would I have ever gotten to Bengies Drive-In as a young lad?
Sean Tully June 21, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Good point about Bengies. Okay, you win. :)
Hank October 07, 2011 at 03:12 PM
"Gil, a car is not a necessity because you can choose to live closer to your work" Not so fast. In this economy people scrambling for jobs and don't necessarily work at the same place for long periods of time. Packing up and moving everytime you have a job change is simply not realistic.
NickJ April 20, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Most cops I've spoken with have an unofficial "keep it within 10 and we'll leave you alone" policy. The last thing they want is to get drug into traffic court to argue accuracy of the gun, off-calibration spedometers, etc. Believability of the evidence is a big part. In excess of 10, even the errors that could accumulate from other things still likely leaves you outside of any grey area. Same with these cameras. If you don't believe it, challenge it like a ticket. The camera technology is generally very accurate. hence the high cost. $144k/year rent does seem excessive, and likely the cost we have to pay for permitting officials to give no-bids like this without repercussions. this is exactly the kind of contract that is trivial to set up in a bid process. but, odds are a posted cop wouldn't be keeping people from going ~10mph over the limit. they'd be hitting the breaks seeing the cop just like they'll get used to doing for the camera. traffic circles are a mess. and I think speed humps are only permitted on residential streets with certain max speed limits, no?


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