KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Police are out in force, and they’re writing more traffic tickets, but officers insist the citation surge is not an attempt to make up for lost city revenue.
Increased traffic enforcement is raising eyebrows because it’s comes just months after Missouri courts suspended the city’s red-light camera enforcement program.
Red light cameras crank out more than 31,000 tickets a year in Kansas City, with an average fine of about $100 each.
A police spokesman tells FOX 4 News not a single officer would write a ticket to make up for that money the city no longer receives.
But increased enforcement will result in an increase in tickets.
Police say it’s all about keeping drivers safe. As FOX 4 News first reported earlier this month, police have added 10 additional traffic officers to the streets. And that’s expected to boost enforcement action by 25 percent.
Drivers paying traffic fines at municipal court say they are suspicious about the surge.
“I feel they should not be writing them for more money,” said Richard Butler, who recently was stopped for speeding and received a seat belt violation ticket. “I feel like yeah, that’s got something to do with it I think.”
Some say the jump in traffic enforcement must be tied to the city’s tight budgets.
Tickets issued in April for all traffic violations increased nearly 50 percent over the same period last year.
Traffic enforcement is returning to levels in place before the red-light camera program began. As a result, others say Kansas City drivers should be thankful police are addressing a public safety concern.
“There have been reports that when the red light cameras left there was an increase in accidents at those locations,” said Benita Jones, public information officer for the municipal court. “So you couple that with lower ticket volumes and the fact that we did lose a mechanism that helped us control accidents at at least those locations, then you have a real problem. You do have to do something about it.”
Despite lower traffic ticket numbers last year, fatal accidents actually decreased by nearly 20 percent in Kansas City. As a result some drivers have told FOX 4 News police need to keep concentrating resources on violent crime instead of what they consider petty violations.