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Bal Harbour red-light cameras working but penalties won’t start until next year

BAL HARBOUR

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
Traffic cameras are up and running in Bal Harbour, but violators won’t be charged until after a grace period ends in January.

The village installed its first camera on Harbour Way and Collins Avenue in late September. The cameras have been active since Oct. 1.

Police Chief Thomas Hunker said the cameras will increase safety and raise funds for the village.

“I can tell you out of 90 to 95 percent all of the tickets are paid on the first mailing,” he said at an October council meeting, referring to other cities who have implemented the equipment.

The village council approved an ordinance in April allowing installation of the cameras in Bal Harbour.

Aside from the equipment on Harbour Way and Collins Avenue, Hunker says more cameras will soon be installed in the upcoming months at three other intersections: in front of the Bal Harbour Shops at 97th Street and Collins Avenue; 96th Street and Collins Avenue; and 96th Street and Harding Avenue.

“I hope we save some lives,” he said.

“I hope there won’t be any he-said, she-said anymore because we will have the video.”

Bal Harbour joins several other municipalities adding the cameras.

Aventura, Miami, North Miami Beach , North Miami , Florida City and Homestead all have approved traffic cameras. To alert residents and visitors, Hunker says electronic signs have been placed near the intersections where cameras have been installed.

This is how the cameras work: When a driver blasts past a red light, the cameras capture a picture of the license tag and then pass that information to the police department.

Officers review each case and mail out a $125 citation, which is a civil infraction.

The village will split proceeds from the tickets with the contractor, American Traffic Solutions, which pays the cost of camera installation. The village’s revenue will go into the general fund.

“I feel the cameras are the wave of the future,” Hunker said. “I would one day like to have cameras installed in open areas in Bal Harbour.”

For information on the red light cameras visit, www.balharbourpolice.org.

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