Red-light camera numbers (lots of them) in Bremerton

This post on red-light cameras will have lots of figures for you to digest. There. You’ve been warned.

The Seattle Times has a story highlighting how Tim Eyman has found a cause that crosses party lines. He has helped or led efforts to see red-light cameras either eliminated or at least approved by voters in multiple communities.

Earlier in August we pointed out the (Everett) Herald story on the cash Lynnwood was making from cameras, enough that the chief warned the city would have to lay off officers if they were gone.

Some of you asked (“Asked” is a polite description of what you did.) for information about Bremerton. Here is what I have.

In 2010 Bremerton took in $685,232 in revenue for red-light cameras. The money sent to Redflex Inc, the Arizona company that runs the system, was $443,639. That gets us $241,593 for the year. In 2009 Andy Parks, former financial services director, said it cost the city about $7,500 a month in staff time to run the program. I can only assume now that the figure came from paying for the officers to look at the ticket and estimating the extra cost it takes to run each infraction through the municipal court system. That’s $90,000 a year. So if that accounts for all the city takes in, the annual net income for Bremerton in 2010 would have been $151,593.

This means approximately 5,525 tickets were successfully prosecuted in 2010.
That means the city issues an average of 15.1 tickets per day that will result in a paid citation.
That means each camera issues an average of 1.6 tickets per day that will result in a paid citation.
Citations would have to go down 22 percent for the city to hit the break even point.

That last part, though, is affected by the contract with Redflex. Each camera is supposed to generate enough tickets to earn the $4,000 per month charge. That’s 33 tickets. As of now each camera appears to be averaging about 51. Remember, that number reflects the number of tickets actually prosecuted.

The number of tickets are going down. In 2009 the number of tickets was in the neighborhood of 6,600. That’s based on the net figures I received from the city, added to the contract that was in place then, and then dividing that figure by $124, the cost of the ticket.

Another factoid worth noting. I said cameras issued an average of 51 prosecutable tickets per month. In May each camera issued about 83 tickets, which means nearly 40 percent of all tickets are not prosecuted.

7 thoughts on “Red-light camera numbers (lots of them) in Bremerton

  1. I don’t see the value being created in our community for the roughly half million dollars per year that the City is sending the Redflex Corporation in Arizona. Rather it appears that the City, in an effort to raise revenue by $151,593, is willing to obligate it’s citizens to paying Redflex $443,639.

    The final fact is the most disturbing though, 40% of the tickets are not even paid, and apparently not prosecuted – which makes me really angry that I paid mine, if I had known that paying traffic citations was now optional in Bremerton I would have saved my money.

  2. The first year or two the cameras were seriously short timing (one instantaneously going from red to green and back to red), and the one by Olympic College was blinding oncoming traffic with it’s flash. Those issues appear to have been corrected. I’ve witnessed some public vehicles using remotes to change lights for their convenience which undercuts the validity of the lights. Bottom line, Bremerton will not receive one cent of my business as long as those cameras remain in service.

  3. @StraightCash,

    The city would probably answer your “value” question by referring to the reduction in infractions. Year over year the number of infractions between 2008 and 2009 was cut in half. They have continued to go down. A skeptic in one of the stories linked above (our story) said it is in Redflex’s best interest to show a reduction in infractions.

    As for the 40 percent that are not paid, the most common method, I’m told, of getting out of these tickets is to tell the judge, “I wasn’t the one driving the car.”

    Another point worth mentioning is that the city’s finance department did do a study on the numbers and concluded that the revenues and expenses end up being about the same, but there is no way to quantify the benefit if accidents really are going down.

    Steven Gardner
    Kitsap Caucus

  4. Steven, I would be very interested in see the corresponding accident numbers for the intersections with camera’s since they were installed.

    Dollar value to the community should be viewed beyond the actual revenue generated after costs are factored in and also include data that could indicate fewer lives, injuries and vehicle damages in jeopardy because driver behavior has changed for the simple fact of the cameras being there.

    Just a thought.

  5. If you get a ticket going through a red light camera you probably deserve it.

    The funny part is, lots of people in Arizona, where it’s warm I might add, are sitting back milking the city of Bremerton for 3/4 of their cash cow- HOLY COW that’s 3/4 of the “Profit” from teh camera’s going to people in Arizona…

    The sheeple that keep getting and PAYING’s their own fault.

  6. Scott, do you really mean to suggest that the problem is that people are paying the tickets they receive? Stop drinking the tea.

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