Aurora cuts red-light cameras
Voters do away with the ticketing system, which helped pay for vital city programs.
Come Jan. 1, Aurora drivers will be free to cruise through a red light without a camera flashing and capturing their cars violating the law.
With an overwhelming twothirds majority, Aurora voters on Tuesday elected to do away with red-light cameras at 10 intersections throughout the city.
Some city officials, however, are now worried about where they will find critical funding for Aurora organizations that benefit from the ticketing revenue.
The red-light program, which has been around since 2005, raised more than $2.4 million in 2017 on over 46,000 tickets, according to data provided by Aurora. A portion of that money, nearly $500,000, goes to organizations related to mental health and detox programs, domestic violence services and child abuse and advocacy groups. Another $288,000 goes toward victim services such as crisis intervention and health services.
“These programs are vital,” said Bob Roth, Aurora city councilman. “People didn’t understand some of the significance of what this meant.”
In addition to the revenue raised, Roth cited safety as another concern. But data from the city show that total crashes at these intersections have actually gone up over the past five years.
Total crashes have increased to 80 in 2017 from 65 in 2013, a 23 percent bump. Injuries from these crashes have also increased to 23 in 2017 from eight in 2013.
“Perhaps that’s why our voters voted it down,” said Sgt. Bill Hummel, spokesman for the police department, referencing these crash numbers.
The Aurora Police Department did not take an official position on the vote.
Aurora Mayor Mayor Bob LeGare said in a statement that although he was “surprised the red light ballot question failed by such a large margin,” he was not disappointed, since it’s been a “controversial issue for city council every year and has been a constant source of discussion at the state level.”
“The voters have spoken to put an end to that controversy in Aurora,” he continued.
After the red-light cameras officially go away in January, police will have to adjust, Hummel said.
“We don’t have a crystal ball as to what sort of impact this might have on public safety,” he said.
Other cities in the metro area have also had red light cameras removed in past years.
Littleton City Council voted unanimously in 2015 to remove all five of its red light cameras after a study found the devices are no longer making money and doing little to reduce accidents.