San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/29/2013 -- According to a Cleveland State University professor, the new cameras set to be added in the East Side will only make the existing discrimination problem worse for the inhabitants.
That concept is being rebuffed by the Cleveland city council and Councilman Jeff Johnson, who recently voted to add the cameras. Johnson stated that the devices were a tool to increase safety and help the Ward 8 neighborhood safer for pedestrians and bike riders as a whole.
Johnson underlined his case by noting that cameras are not an issue of race, and instead are simply put into place to keep the area safer by instituting accountability for running lights. According to Johnson, that area has been plagued with drivers who blast through the red lights in the area.
"I want people to stop speeding in my neighborhood," he said. "Speed kills, everybody knows that. I want speed cameras at the intersections that are the biggest areas of pedestrian traffic. I want my community to be more walkable and more bike friendly."
The CSU professor, Ronnie Dunn, who is an authority of racial disparity, stated that 21 of the 26 new cameras are being located in 'black neighborhoods' and will thus result in black paying a disproportionate amount in fines.
Dunn stated that his book, "Racial Profiling: Causes and Consequences," had him once supporting cameras at red lights. However, the current form of implementation supersedes his overall support.
"I recommended cameras because they provide an objective means of [proving] who was violating traffic laws," Dunn said. "But I'm really amazed at the progression of cameras and how they've been utilized. The city is not using them the way they were initially suggested."
The council has okayed the use of 26 stationary cameras, as well as nine mobile cameras that will be up and running by November, 2013.
A study commissioned in 2006 showed that blacks were recipients of 61% of traffic-violations in Cleveland, backing Dunn's concerns. "What that shows is blacks are being more heavily ticketed," Dunn said, "and putting more cameras on the East Side will compound and exacerbate this problem. It places an additional burden in these distressed residential areas where unemployment is high. This adds insult to injury."
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