Recently released statistics of Victorville's photo enforcement campaign likely has the powers that be in Hesperia salivating with anticipation. What city wouldn't be eager to start such a program when there's so much green (as in cash) to be found in those red-light cameras?

Here are the astounding numbers: In just the first three months of Victorville's camera enforcement, 5,961 tickets without the use of a single sheriff deputy man hour have been issued to Victorville residents and those passing through - which probably means an ample number of Hesperians also received tickets in their mail boxes.

But before Hesperia begins its public relations campaign - Victorville's was so successful that its residents and those empowered to monitor such money grabs were seemingly lulled into apathy - there are some things you deserve to know.

Over the past three months, Victorville's red-light program took in more than $2.3 million from drivers caught by the cameras, which are strategically placed throughout the city to catch those making one of several types of red-light infractions. Violators are fined $391 per ticket with Victorville getting less than half, $168, and the private vendor who manages the red-light system receiving the lion's share, $223. (Comparatively, red-light camera fines in Austin, Texas are just $75, according to the American-Statesman newspaper.). Victorville has received more than $1 million so far from red-light camera tickets.

But with finances so tight for so many people, just one red-light ticket while driving in Victorville could literally ruin your vacation plans.
According to one study of red light cameras in Los Angeles County, more than three-quarters of tickets in that region were issued not to violators blatantly running a red light (which certainly deserves a ticket) but for drivers making rolling right turns. Another study showed that while there was a noticeable decrease in broadside collisions, rear-end crashes increased by 15 percent. Another study by the Washington Post indicated that accidents actually increased in the Washington D.C. area.

So far, Victorville apparently has seen different results. Injury and fatal accidents are down 42 percent over the same time last year, according to the Sheriff Department sergeant assigned to oversee the local program.

Currently Victorville has red-light cameras at 12 intersections across the city. But the program has been such a "success," that it is considering installing cameras at 7th Street, D Street, Palmdale and Amargosa roads, and Highway 395.

Certainly preventing traffic collisions is a good thing to do, but creating a veritable Big Brother state should be of concern. Taking literally millions of dollars from unsuspecting drivers may be occurring on Amargosa and 7th Street in Victorville, but hopefully it will never happen - at least not in the same manner - here on Main Street.

***

We received a call from a woman who is concerned about the road-paving project on Maple Street between Ranchero Road and Main Street. Apparently the project, which started last fall, has stalled. Literally, she said, "Weeds have been growing around the cones."

The woman said she talked to a city representative who indicated the contractor put the project on hold after learning they were required to install additional drainage. Meanwhile, the project is in limbo until the city and contractor can come to an agreement on terms, she said.

"School's going to be starting again in another month," she noted.

It sounds like something that needs to be looked into.