Sunday, September 22, 2013

Let's Play "Hide the Speed Camera"

If fleecing motorists with visible speed cameras in 15 north county municipalities wasn't bad enough, now there's a new, even more secret way to get into your wallet you as you drive through at least one these cash-strapped towns:  Welcome to Country Club Hills.

What does this innocent white box look like to you? 

Courtesy:  KMOV
You might think it's a traffic signal control device.  It's designed this way for a reason. 

So you don't notice it. 

I'm a little surprised they haven't designed one that looks like a tree or a flag pole.  The first time you'll realize a camera is there, is when the ticket comes in the mail. 

Remember, the mayors and councils of these communities are interested in your safety, not the money these cameras bring into their city coffers.  

If you don't believe it's for safety, pick up a copy of the St. Louis American newspaper this week.  There's a large paid ad in the paper that proves it's for safety.  The headline is, "Speed Cameras Save Lives."  Incidentally, at the bottom of the ad, in much smaller print, you can see the ad was paid for by "St. Louis County Municipalities."  What it should have said was, "Paid for by St. Louis County Municipalities that need your money."

Their usual argument is, "Don't speed and you won't get a ticket."  That's partially true.  However, when you put an artificially low speed limit on a major roadway, it's almost impossible NOT to speed.  They know that.  The cameras are well-placed in order to generate as many violations as possible.  Some cameras are set up to issue tickets for going as little as 3mph over the speed limit.  Most cops know the speed limits are too low on many major streets, so they compensate by tolerating a higher speed before issuing a ticket.  I cannot remember ever issuing a speeding ticket unless it was for more than 10mph over the limit.  On major roads or on hills, you might tolerate more, depending on the normal flow of traffic.  Cameras have no discretion.  They cannot educate a motorist on the dangers of speeding.  They can only issue tickets.

Want to know why you don't see speed cameras on subdivision streets?  Not enough traffic or enough violators to pay for the camera and make money for the town.  Also, the last thing you want to do is start issuing tickets to town residents who can vote out the elected officials.  You really have to put them on major roads that pass through town, so you get non-residents. 

I still say they should put these speed cameras up at the intersection of I-270 and Highway 40 in West County.  There's enough influential people that drive that route every day that can afford the resources needed to ban them.  These big-dollar motorists could get together, hire a lobbying firm, make big campaign contributions to elected officials and get them banned from our state.  By the way, that's how the camera companies stay in business. 

As long as municipalities and private camera companies continue to feed off of some of the poorest people in the St. Louis region, it would appear that nobody really cares.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goodbye Mr. Castro

It's safe to say after working in the police business for more than 30 years, a cop's view on life and death becomes somewhat skewed.  I can't explain it; it just happens.

I've worked many suicides in my career; especially when assigned to the homicide unit.  The vast majority were tragic.  For the most part, suicide can be described as a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  The victim's family needlessly suffers.  Those families endure lifelong guilt and question themselves about how they might have prevented the suicide.  I feel for them.  Always have.

With that said, I also believe true evil exists in this world of ours.  Ariel Castro is an example of that evil.  The horrors he put those innocent young women through cannot be adequately described.

Ariel Castro
However, for once in his life, Mr. Castro did the right thing.  What's unfortunate is that he didn't consider this move about ten years ago, before he ruined the lives of his victims.  Case closed.