Boynton Beach leaders consider alternate uses for red light cameras

Could be used as surveillance to boost safety
Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-02 18:29:57-05

The new year marked the end of red light cameras in Palm Beach County. Boynton Beach was the last city to shut down the program.

Now, the city is considering using the cameras in another way to keep you safe.

15 cameras are no longer recording, but they’re still fixed on roads across Boynton Beach. Mayor Steven Grant and Commissioner Justin Katz could see the cameras as a crime-fighting opportunity.

“Deterring crime, or determining what happened with an accident,” two-year resident Dean Nicholson listed some possibilities.

American Traffic Solutions owns the cameras. A spokesman said police could use the cameras to scan license plates, get live video feeds, or record car crashes.

The company receives about 2,000 requests per month from police agencies across the country for access to video of a crime or suspect.

“If something goes wrong, they're able to play it back and see what happened,” pointed out Myra Sobel, who supports the idea.

Most of the taxpayers who spoke to NewsChannel 5 think the idea would beef up public safety.

But not everyone wants to pay extra for surveillance.

“They spend our money on all sorts of garbage,” said Mike Prece. “They can take some money from that and spend it on this, if they think it's a worthy cause.”

Commissioner Joe Casello said during the five years the city used the cameras for red lights, drivers never stopped running red lights. So he's not so sure the cameras would deter other crimes.

As for "big brother" overstepping his bounds? Nicholson countered the cameras only cover public property, where there is no expectation of privacy.

“Unless someone was doing something they shouldn't be doing, I don't see what the concern would be from that point of view,” Nicholson said. 

City leaders told NewsChannel 5 they are in preliminary discussions with ATS. And remain a long way from getting an estimate on how much the surveillance program would cost.