Traffic cameras raise questions in Petersburg - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Traffic cameras raise questions in Petersburg

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

Drivers beware! Traffic cameras are being installed in Petersburg.

Thursday morning, we caught crews installing a set red light traffic cameras at the intersection of East Washington and North Adams streets. Many folks seeing the cameras for the first time have questions.

"What's going on? what's going on," Petersburg resident, Anita Crocker, asked. "I'm surprised, quite frankly. I don't know what its purpose is. I guess many others don't either because I haven't seen any publicity on cameras, she added."

The city is working with Redflex Traffic Systems. Cameras are also being set-up at the intersection of Wagner and Crater Roads.

Once the cameras are activated they will take photos of license plates. Video will be captured six seconds before and six seconds after a red light.

"The goal is safety," said Petersburg Police sergeant, Haywood James.

Police say they selected the two intersections based on a high number of traffic infractions.

"Running red lights and vehicle accidents," Haywood added.

Redflex Traffic Systems will monitor the recordings. When an infraction occurs, the company will send the information to Petersburg police to review and  send out notification to violators.

So, how much does all of this cost? Police say, the cameras are free, the installation is free, and the company that owns the equipment is paid a percentage out of fines collected.

Some residents are skeptical - calling the cameras an invasion of privacy and and a way for the city to generate revenue.

"It's like the show big brother. Somebody's watching," said resident Eunice Blackwell.

Police say it's not about money but a way to encourage drivers to obey traffic laws.

The cameras are slated to be activated by the end of September. Police say there will be a 30-day grace period once the cameras are activated.

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