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Only 2% of Drivers Contest Their Red Light Camera Tickets in Belmont, CA

Property crime drops in Belmont, red light camera fines go uncontested By Mike Rosenberg mrosenberg@bayareanewsgroup.com Posted: 11/20/2010 06:22:34 PM PST Updated: 11/20/2010 11:07:21 PM PST In the past year, property crime has dropped, emergency responses have gotten quicker and there have been more traffic collisions, Belmont police said in an annual report released Friday. What's more, the results show that hardly anyone is challenging the $450 fines from the city's first two red light cameras. The report from Chief Don Mattei, to be discussed at the Belmont City Council meeting Tuesday, includes statistics for the fiscal year ending June 30 and compares the figures to the prior year. Violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery and assault are so rare in Belmont that they barely change much from year to year. There were 97 assaults and nine robberies in the past year, compared to 95 assaults and nine robberies the year before. Each year saw one slaying, and there were three rapes this past year, compared to two the year before. But among property crimes -- burglaries, thefts and stolen vehicles -- there have been significant decreases. Police said there have been 29 percent fewer stolen vehicles this past year, while the number of burglaries has dropped 18 percent and thefts have dipped 17 percent. In all, there were 427 property crimes in the past year, down from 522 the prior year. Also noteworthy: While the number of emergencies hasn't changed, police in a year have cut their average emergency response time from 4.5 minutes to 2.7 minutes. In addition, the number of traffic collisions Advertisement jumped 38 percent from 200 to 275 in the past year. It's unclear whether these trends exist over a long period of time or just from the past year. Prior year data isn't included in the report, and police officials did not return calls Friday requesting further information and comment. Mattei also said the city's two red light cameras, which turned on in May on Ralston Avenue at El Camino Real and Old County Road, are "meeting the needs of the community." So far, police have issued about seven tickets per day between the two cameras. That's about half the number seen throughout the county, where typically each camera produces seven tickets per day at intersections in San Mateo, Redwood City, Millbrae, Daly City and Menlo Park. Also interesting is that Mattei said just 2 percent of the 1,063 tickets issued so far have been challenged, even through the fines can reach up to $500. Part of the reason may be that police said they throw out 38 percent of potential tickets, usually because either the photo quality is not good enough or the infraction is questionable, meaning they only send out tickets when they are sure they will hold up in court. In addition, the report includes what Mattei called a "key issue." Five full-time members of the police department will be eligible for retirement soon, setting up hurdles to make sure the squad is fully staffed. Also at Tuesday's meeting, the council will hold its annual rotation, where Vice Mayor Coralin Feierbach is in line to replace Christine Wozniak as mayor. Mike Rosenberg covers San Mateo, Burlingame, Belmont and transportation. Contact him at 650-348-4324. crimes in belmont Violent crime numbers rarely change, but property crime fell significantly. Assaults: Rose to 97 this fiscal year, up from 95 the previous year Property crimes: Fell to 427 this year, down from 522 in the previous year Rapes: Rose to 3 this year, up from 2 the previous year Robberies: Totaled 9 this year, the same as the previous year Slayings: Totaled 1 this year, the same as the previous year Thefts: Fell 18 percent this year Vehicle thefts: Fell 27 percent this fiscal year 27 percent Amount vehicle thefts fell in one year 18 percent Amount thefts declined in one year Source: Report from Belmont police chief
Posted in Red Light
Nov 22nd, 2010