Red-light-camera-springfield-ohioMan opposed to ticket-writing spy cameras takes matters into his own hands

A Centereach, New York man has been arrested on charges of tampering with red light cameras, and citizens are rushing to his defense.

“On Aug. 21 and Aug. 24, Suffolk County Police say Stephen Ruth tampered with cameras on Ocean Avenue and the Long Island Expressway South Service Road.  On Wednesday, Ruth tampered with two cameras located at Hawkins Avenue and the Long Island Expressway South Service Road in Ronkonkoma,” Fox 5 NY reports.

Ruth faces misdemeanor charges including criminal tampering and obstruction of governmental administration.

Ruth was easy to find.

He proudly videotaped himself shutting down the cameras, and posted the footage to Facebook as a “how-to” instructional video so others could shutter the cameras as well.

“Did you ever think that the only people who have to pay these tickets are hard working Americans? I did. If you want to see what I just did, it’s very simple. You just push the camera upward. Just like that,” Ruth says in the video posted on Aug. 24.

“Of course I knew I would be arrested. I did it for the people who come back from war and get abused by these cameras. I did it because senior citizens are getting these, the same ones that went to war for us,” Ruth posted to Facebook.

Many Americans oppose red-light cameras for safety and legal reasons.

While advocates claim red-light cameras reduce “t-bone” collisions caused by red light runners, others point to statistics showing it increases rear-end collisions by drivers who panic when they see a yellow light and slam on the brakes.

“The District (of Columbia)’s cameras have collected more than a half-billion dollars, but cameras focused on reducing speed and eliminating the running of red lights hardly reduce danger. Running red lights and speeding are responsible for only 5 percent of D.C. traffic accidents,” The Washington Times reports.

Others point to the fact the Constitution guarantees your right to face your accuser when brought to court on criminal or civil charges, which a camera cannot do.

Some judges, such as one in Florida, have ruled that private camera operators can’t issue traffic citations on a city’s behalf.

Several localities that use red light cameras to write tickets have also been caught illegally manipulating the timing of yellow lights to increase the number of red light runners, making intersections more dangerous.

“Six U.S. cities have been found guilty of shortening the amber cycles below what is allowed by law on intersections equipped with cameras meant to catch red-light runners. The local governments in question have ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead,” Left Lane News reports.

“The cities in question include Union City, CA, Dallas and Lubbock, TX, Nashville and Chattanooga, TN, Springfield, MO, according to Motorists.org, which collected information from reports from around the country. This isn’t the first time traffic cameras have been questioned as to their effectiveness in preventing accidents. In one case, the local government was forced to issue refunds by more than $1 million to motorists who were issued tickets for running red lights.”