Ill. voters like red-light cameras, just not in their neighborhood

September 09, 2009

Illinois voters like the idea of red-light cameras, but they don’t want one on their block, according to a new survey, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Tribune/WGN-TV sponsored the survey of 700 registered voters across Illinois, conducted in late August by Market Shares Corp. The survey has a margin of error of 4%.

The poll found that 53% of Illinois voters thought red-light cameras were a “good idea”; 41% thought they were a bad idea. Support was even higher in the city of Chicago, where 59% thought the cameras were a good idea and 55% would go as far as to be in favor of having them installed near their home.

Statewide, only 41% said they would want to have cameras installed near where they live.

Chicago now has 159 intersections monitored by red-light cameras. The fines brought in by the cameras last year, with fewer cameras installed, added nearly $45 million to the city’s coffers, and amounts like that make most Illinois voters skeptical.

Municipal officials say the goal of the red-light cameras is to increase safety. Only 32% of those in the Tribune survey believed government’s assertion. Many more (61%) thought the main purpose of the cameras was to raise revenue for local governments and the private contractors that install and operate the equipment.