Victims of Violence Say Interstate Traffic Cameras Allows Criminals to Go Free By Erasing Evidence
The mother of a stray gunfire accident on I-95 is pleading for state and local officials to take action regarding traffic camera evidence.* Last year, her daughter was tragically killed by a stray bullet, and she feels the criminals responsible could have been caught had government agencies worked together to preserve traffic camera footage.
The news report states that a lot of the state's most horrific crimes that took place on I-95 were "captured" on the Florida Department of Transportation traffic cameras. However, the images and videos showing the perpetrators committing the crimes disappear forever since the videos and images are not stored. Storing accident footage and criminal acts could bring criminals to justice, according to victims of interstate crimes.
In Florida, interstate traffic cameras line the most accident and trafficked sections to monitor traffic flow. However, the Florida Department of Transportation will not permit traffic cameras to record images or video. The victim's mother and Florida Highway Patrol troopers maintain the traffic video recordings would have helped them find the suspects involved in the highway shootings that killed her daughter. However, officials from the Florida Department of Transportation explained to the Sun-Sentinel that FDOT did not want the burden and cost of saving large volumes of video images and footage.
In states like Illinois, Maryland, and California, camera technologies are used to protect the public. In California, the number of highway shootings has decreased due to the success of implementing a system designed to capture video evidence and alert law enforcement of shootings. The system utilizes a combination of video cameras, license plate readers, and gunshot detection equipment. In Illinois, state officials implemented a similar system after there was a sharp increase in freeway shootings. In Maryland, the cameras are used to catch reckless drivers, street racers, and dangerous speeders.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, the number of shootings along I-95 is on the increase, and these criminal cases are rarely solved. In 2019, some of the incidents, as well as innocent motorists not involved in a traffic dispute, were harmed by gun violence. Last year, unsolved cases involving stray bullets resulted in one boy being paralyzed, a young woman losing her life, and several people grazed by stray bullets.
FDOT maintains about 570 live-streaming video cameras along the 380 mile stretch of I-95. All of the traffic cameras are currently set up to monitor traffic and are on a continuous loop, which overwrites old video records. In many states, the traffic camera footage is preserved for several days before the footage is overwritten. This period of time allows law enforcement, media, attorneys, and citizens to obtain copies of specific footage. According to the news report, transportation officials in many other states have recognized the need to preserve camera views of highways to save lives and have found it is not too burdensome.
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