ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque installed one of their speed enforcement cameras along Lead and Cornell about two weeks ago and already it’s been stolen. Neighbors say it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. “I didn’t think they were going to last. To begin with, they are just giant targets,” said Stephen Deaver who lives in the neighborhood.

The speed enforcement cameras took effect last month, catching some of the city’s fastest drivers. “Yeah, absolutely; people are always flying, if not going the wrong way down the one-way,” said Deaver. The Albuquerque Police Department says around Monday morning, someone ripped the camera right off its base. “I don’t know how well thought out it was when they put them in place because they didn’t seem to be very protected. Anybody walking by could have sprayed them with spray paint or they could have been damaged very easily,” said neighbor Jill Medina.

In order to prevent the vandals from striking twice, APD says they’ve also taken down the speed camera on Coal and Cornell, but residents say they’re frustrated because they feel the cameras were finally making a difference. “As somebody who lives in the neighborhood and drives around in the area, yes, people were definitely slowing down and being more aware of the fact that the cameras were there and the need to control speed,” said Medina.

While this might just be a temporary setback, APD says these cameras are here to stay. “As long as there is still a problem we are going to keep those cameras up and running and cite people,” said APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos. During the short time the cameras were up along the Lead-Coal corridor, more than 327,000 vehicles were recorded of those, and more than 8,000 were caught going 11 miles or more over the 30-mile-an-hour limit.

APD says the program does not cost taxpayers anything and the camera company takes care of any replacements. The city still has four speed enforcement cameras; two along Gibson, another on Montgomery near Eubank and one along Unser and Tower.