ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Speed cameras are officially coming to the Albuquerque metro after the city council finally came to a vote following multiple delays. The city hopes they will help curb lead-foot drivers but some aren’t so sure it will work. If caught on camera, you could get a speeding ticket in the mail for $100 but some locals are worried this is just going to be a money grab.
“We’ve got to crack down on the behavior on the streets,” said Councilor Ike Benton. “This is only a small part of it.”
Approved by most of the city council, the cameras will go at intersections with the highest crash rates. This comes after 97 people were killed in metro crashes back in 2019 — the highest number in years — and councilors say enough is enough.
“We shouldn’t have to have things like this,” said Benton. “We’ve got an increasingly aggressive group of people on the streets and I think we need to face up to that.”
With Monday’s vote, also came some changes. If someone gets a ticket from a speed camera, they’ll still have the option to either go to a court hearing or pay the $100 fine, but now, they also have the opportunity to do community service instead. While he was the only councilor who voted ‘no’ against the ordinance and calls it ‘policing for profit.’ Councilor Pat Davis says the amendment was his way to make things fairer for those who can’t pay.
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Some locals agree. “I feel like the speed cameras are more for making money than it is for actually helping the citizens of Albuquerque,” said local Monika Skiba. “To me, it doesn’t seem like it’s that beneficial to the community.”
The city says the speed cameras will help ease the burden of Albuquerque Police Department officers so they can focus on more dangerous crimes and also encourage drivers to slow down. However, locals say it doesn’t really stop your driving habits until you finally get that ticket in the mail.
“You usually don’t know until far after that you’ve sped so it’s not an immediate response to the action,” said Skiba. “I don’t think the speed cameras are great but the community service option is at least a good amendment.”
Others hope the new cameras will make locals think twice about their speed. “The time that it takes to get from point A to point B,” said Council President Cynthia Borrego. “Build in the time that we need to so that we don’t get a ticket.”
Councilor Brook Bassan says their next step down the line is to figure out a timeframe the community service option has to be completed by if people opt for that instead of paying the fine. It’s unclear how soon we could see these cameras around town or where, exactly, but according to city council, the ordinance officially goes into effect in five days.