Critics pile on after latest red-light camera indictment in Chicago area
CHICAGO - The federal indictment of a west suburban mayor is just the latest scandal involving red light cameras in the suburbs in city.
Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci faces charges in a red light camera scheme.
He's accused of accepting thousands of dollars in cash to allow red light cameras at an intersection near Oakbrook Mall in 2017.
Prosecutors said it was a scheme that allowed him to skim money from the revenue generated by the camera.
Critics of traffic cameras, both red light and speed cameras, said it offers yet another example of how the cameras are more of a cash grab than a safety effort.
The city of Chicago issued more than $2.8 million worth of speeding tickets last year alone according to the Illinois Policy Institute—that's more tickets than there are residents in the city.
Speeding tickets also brought in $89 million in fines.
The group Citizens to Abolish Red Light cameras called them "scameras".
"It is a sanctioned policy of corruption to fleece the public ... allowing private people to get rich from the privatization of traffic safety ... that in fact provides nothing of the sort," said executive director Mark Wallace.
Paul Vallas, who is said to be considering a run for Chicago mayor, tweeted about how traffic cameras seem to be a bigger priority than crime in the city.
But the traffic cameras are multiplying across the city and suburbs. In Chicago the cities on map shows 160 speed cameras and 300 red light cameras spread out in almost every neighborhood.
The Illinois Policy Institute said the cameras have done nothing to decrease traffic fatalities which are actually up in the city.