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OpinionEditorial

Vandalism a losing tactic against red-light cameras

Red-light cameras hang at an intersection in this

Red-light cameras hang at an intersection in this undated photo.

First, he tilted red-light cameras away from traffic so they wouldn’t catch violators, police say. Then he disabled other cameras by cutting their wiring. Police say he cut down a pole supporting another camera. Now, Stephen Ruth’s attorney says his client believes his actions were a form of civil disobedience. They were not. This was vandalism. And it must stop.

Ruth echoes many critics who say the cameras are more of a Suffolk County money-grab than a safety initiative. But he also has an ax to grind, in the form of numerous tickets for red-light violations — most for such offenses as blowing through red lights. It is true that Suffolk has reaped millions in fines from violators, but safety statistics are clear.

The cameras prevent serious crashes. Yes, accidents have increased at some intersections, but half of the crashes there are rear-enders. The numbers are expected to plummet when drivers stop assuming the person in front of them is going to run through a red light or make a right turn on red without stopping. And people are learning. Violations at red-light intersections dropped 8 percent last year.

The best way Ruth and his brethren can crusade for fairness and justice is by obeying the law, not breaking it. — The editorial board

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