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Red Light Camera “Pimping”……. The Perfect Crime?

From a story (no longer available on-line) in the Montgomery County (MD) Sentinel newspaper:

As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county’s Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.

Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera “Pimping” game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.

Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that “mimic” those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.

Students are even obtaining vehicles from their friends that are similar or identical to the make and model of the car owned by the targeted victim, according to the parent.

“This game is very disturbing,” the parent said. “Especially since unsuspecting parents will also be victimized through receipt of unwarranted photo speed tickets.

The parent said that “our civil rights are exploited,” and the entire premise behind the Speed Camera Program is called into question as a result of the growing fad among students.

Fox News even did a story about it:


If this really catches on there is absolutely nothing law enforcement can to about it.  It exposes the basic contradiction this type of enforcement system has with the foundation of American criminal justice.  That is that the offender must be positively identified.  Even in the case of parking tickets, while we may not know who the driver was, at least the car is positively identified.  Photo-shopped license plates can easily fool a red light camera, but can’t fool a living, breathing ticket writer. 

I brought this up at Wednesday’s red light camera presentation.  Mr. Callari from American Traffic Solutions had no “solution” for that one!  Nor did Belmar police chief Tom Palmisano.  It is the perfect crime.

This problem alone is sufficient grounds to reject the use of traffic enforcement cameras in Belmar or anywhere else for that matter.

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