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Candidates split on racism of camera sites
Question of the Day
Kwame R. Brown, at-large Democrat, said the locations would understandably cause concern among some residents, but doubts locations were racially influenced.
“Is there a disproportionate number of cameras east of the river? Yes. But do I think there’s a racial disparity? The answer is no.”
David A. Catania, at-large independent who is seeking re-election, agreed that the assertions are likely unfounded.
“It would be appalling, but I just can’t see that it would be true,” he said.
Metropolitan Police have maintained that safety is the underlying factor in choosing enforcement zones.
Although the number of traffic fatalities have fluctuated since the speed cameras were implemented in 2001, fatalities have decreased to 49 deaths last year, down from 71 in 2001.
However, police do not have any statistics showing a correlation between the automated-enforcement program and a reduction in traffic deaths or crashes.
Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat, said it is “unfortunate” that race is considered as a factor by critics.
Mrs. Ambrose, who is not running for re-election, said that the cameras target busy commuter thoroughfares and that it is coincidental that the routes are mainly in predominantly black neighborhoods.
“Whoever made this complaint ought to go to some of these [police service area] meetings and hear the people who say they want speed and picture cameras on some of these streets,” she said. “The cameras are in the areas and on the corridors where there have been recorded the highest number of accidents and speeding.”
Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat running for re-election, said the cameras were originally not aimed at D.C. residents at all.
“These cameras were stationed in places that largely hit suburbanites,” he said. “I hate to generalize or say they are targeted at any particular group of people, but the fact of the matter is that Maryland drivers are just notorious speeders.”
He said he plans to further investigate the cameras’ deployment.
About the Author
Tarron Lively is the deputy editor of the Continuous News Desk.
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