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Red Light Cameras Will Remain

Oak Forest residents still have to behave behind the wheel at red lights, after the city council approved a contract renewal with Gatso USA. Gatso will continue to monitor, support and operate the city's red light cameras for at least two more year

Those pesky red light cameras the city of Oak Forest installed five years ago? They're sticking around for at least two more years, and possibly up to four more, after a contract renewal between the city and service provider Gatso USA.

The city paid Gatso $36,000 since the start of the previous fiscal year for its services—which the city has nearly tripled in revenue from citations. The new contract will extend the services at least two more years; Gatso will continue to provide Oak Forest police with footage of possible violations. 

Oak Forest Police Chief Anderson said that it is Illinois state law that companies that manage red light enforcement for municipalities send tapes to the respective police stations so that an officer can review footage for potential violations before a citation is issued.

“We've made $90,000 in ticket revenue and that's still going to continue to climb through collections and that type of thing,” Anderson said.

He added that, on average, an Oak Forest Police officer will spend about 90 minutes per month reviewing tapes—a decrease from when the cameras were first installed.

“We don't have that many violations anymore because everybody knows the cameras are there,” he said. “So, our time has been reduced on that.”

Anderson said that the contract is the previous contract verbatim, and that Gatso USA has been a valuable partner to the city since the start.

“Gatso has been an outstanding partner on this,” Anderson said. “They've been very receptive whenever we've had issues with the cameras, whether they're broke or maintenance or anything along those lines. They've been very good for us.”

The agreement passed in a 6-to-1 vote, with Alderman Rich Simon as the lone dissenting voice. 

Darnell November 29, 2012 at 01:04 PM
So the truth be told, we were all told they were installed for safety reason but as we all suspected all along it was just for the money! An extra $90K a year! A loaf of bread under each arm and the city still cries poor mouth!
Bob Laird November 29, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I used to support the cameras due to some ignorant drivers that have to push the yellow so far that they endanger other drivers, but after recent articles I'm not so sure. We do need to curb these jerks, but if either the cameras themselves are screwing up or the company that runs them are making "mistakes" this is going to cause trouble for good drivers too.
Bob November 29, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Of course it's going to increase revenue from citations! You can't catch people running red lights if nothing is there to prove it. My driving is semi-aggressive, and yet I've never run a red light or received a violation for it. Simply put, the people receiving citations deserve them. End of story. Don't drive like an idiot and you have nothing to worry about.
GS November 29, 2012 at 04:52 PM
No other states have them, in fact MN declared them to be unConstitutional. GASP! Imagine that!
Racing025 November 29, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I always figured the cameras were for income for the city more so then safety. But it seems to have worked. City made money and violations are down. Sounds like a win win. Don't run the red light and you wont have to worry about getting a ticket.
Michael M. November 30, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Actual studies have shown that the cameras cause more accidents that they prevent. People are more apt to break quickly so as to not go through the red light and get a ticket, thus causing rear end collisions. Many municipalities have begun to remove them for this reason. http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/increase-accidents http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/red-light-cameras-are-causing-accidents-5-stories-outrage-over-traffic-camera http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/red-light_cameras_lead_to_more.html Just a few samples, you can find much more.
Danny Boy December 04, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I went to my local town council and told them that for the 1st time in my life I was ANGRY about the camera lights and that I would never forgive them. I have been driving for 50 years, not a single accident that was my fault, zero tickets before the camera lights and now I have 2 tickets for the CARDINAL SIN of having my bumper go over the line 1/4 inch. I reminded them that every single time I approach these lights I am remembered how my city screwed me and I am reminded NOT to vote for them again. Then I walked out.
Tony Fiorenzo January 24, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Fascism at its finest. These politicians are promoting private enterprise on the backs of its citizens. SHAMEFUL!!!

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