Greenbelt to start speed camera program -- Gazette.Net



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Greenbelt will start the process of installing speed cameras on city streets within a half-mile of schools, after the Greenbelt City Council introduced a resolution Monday to negotiate a contract with a camera operator.

“We’ve been talking about it for quite some time, and we’ve done thorough research on companies,” said Mayor Judith Davis. “So we’re going forward with it.”

The Hanover-based public safety technology company Brekford Corp. will install and operate the cameras after conducting research in the area to determine where there are speeding problems.

Davis said the city will then determine how many cameras to install and where to install them. City manager Michael McLaughlin said that cameras can be expected to go in sometime this summer.

“Several people have been asking us to do more enforcement of speeding on our city streets,” Davis said. “This is an effective way to slow people down.”

Citations with a $40 fine will be issued to drivers going 12 mph or more over the speed limit, in accordance with the state law that authorizes local jurisdictions to use speed cameras. The cameras will be operated from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Davis said that the city is not installing the cameras to “trap people” or for the revenue generated by the program.

“The money we get has to be used toward safety measures, so that’s another way we can improve safety on our roads and for pedestrians,” Davis said.

Warnings will be issued in the first 30 days after the cameras are installed, and the city will advertise the locations.

“Nearby communities have had great success with the speed cameras, and we expect to have the same results [in Greenbelt],” McLaughlin said.

The Greenbelt proposal mirrors the speed camera program in Laurel, which began in November 2010, and which police officials said has been effective in reducing speeding in the area.

“We did a pre-deployment traffic study to determine traffic in the areas, to measure how many vehicles were speeding,” said Laurel Chief of Police Rich McLaughlin. “Then we did a post-deployment study, and we saw an 83 percent reduction in speeding. It’s a behavior modifier.”

Laurel has six cameras, all within a half-mile of schools. The city of Laurel’s cameras are also operated by Brekford.

Prince George’s County also operates speed cameras in the area, though none are located in Greenbelt. In police Districts 1 and 6, which include Laurel, Greenbelt, Beltsville, Hyattsville, and surrounding areas, 20 county-operated speed cameras picked up more than 26,000 violations since September, when they were installed, said Maj. Robert Liberati, commander of the automated enforcement section for the Prince George’s County Police Department.

hnunn@gazette.net