City officials say they’re frustrated after four of Toronto’s photo radar cameras were stolen and another vandalized before they could issue a single ticket.
The “automated speed enforcement” cameras are among 50 placed in wards around the city as part of the Vision Zero program that aims to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on city streets.
But now, Toronto police are investigating after someone managed to steal a handful of the over 360-kilogram machines that are set up to record license plates and mail out tickets to speeders across the city.
“We condemn it,” city spokesperson Brad Ross told CBC News.
“You’re removing a tool to help, you’re potentially removing or getting in the way of an opportunity to save a life.”
Speed is a factor in approximately one third of all serious injuries and fatalities in Toronto, Ross said. The cameras are part of a multi-pronged effort to bring those incidents down to zero — a plan that includes reducing speed limits, upping police enforcement and installing signs.
Last year, 42 pedestrians were killed on Toronto streets. Four have died so far this year.
The cameras are portable so that they can be moved around the city as needed. Each is worth approximately $50,000 each, but Ross says Torontonians won’t be the ones footing the bill.
“The vendor is responsible for replacing them and they’re doing that,” he said. He said that stipulation was one of the terms of the contract the city signed when purchasing the cameras.
Two of the stolen cameras have already been replaced and another two will be installed early next month, the city says.
At the moment, there are two cameras in each ward collecting data and issuing warnings to the owners of vehicles that are found to be speeding.
Starting in April, the city will begin issuing fines to owners of vehicles caught speeding by the cameras.