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St. Charles to end red-light camera program

ST. CHARLES – Soon, motorists who run stoplights at Route 31 and West Main Street in St. Charles will no longer receive tickets from red-light cameras.

The St. Charles Government Operations Committee on Monday unanimously recommended approval to let the contract with Redflex Systems expire Monday.

The camera monitors the northbound section of the intersection.

St. Charles Police Chief Jim Lamkin said discontinuing the program is in the city’s best interest.

The program – which began in September 2008 – was designed to be cost-neutral, he said, but fines from the violations never offset the costs for the equipment and the staff time involved in processing the violations.

“We’ve never made a penny,” Lamkin said.

According to a report he submitted to the committee, the camera recorded 353 verified violations in its first full year of activation.

So far this year, he reported, there have been 167.

But the red-light camera was successful in some respects, he said.

“It did reduce crashes, yes,” said Lamkin, noting that intersection had been among the top accident sites in the city.

In the year before activation, he reported, the intersection saw 15 crashes. With the red-light camera, there were eight crashes in 2009; nine in 2010; five in 2011; nine in 2012; and five so far this year, according to his report.

Lamkin said he hopes those levels will be maintained after the camera is disabled.

The police department will continue to monitor the intersection, he said.

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