By: Surjit Flora
Photos by Surjit Flora
In the first few weeks of installation of Brampton’s new traffic speed enforcement cameras, one of them has been repeatedly vandalized.
The vandalism came to light earlier this week, after five automated speed enforcement (ASE) cameras were installed in key school zones and designated community zones throughout the city. The defaced sign, located near the intersection of McLaughlin Road and Ray Lawson Boulevard, had been marked with spray paint last week just before cleanup crews arrived to repair the damage. However, the sign was defaced again as of Wednesday morning, with the words, “Hundas Jatt Privilege” painted on one side of the sign.
However, it appeared as of Wednesday morning that the city was unaware of the second defacement, as the graffiti was still present on the sign.
“Vandalism has no place in our community,” said Gary Collins, the director of communications for Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown’s office, when reached for comment Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, Collins said the damage has been repaired and the cameras are currently being tested. “The city has zero tolerance for speeding and the ASE cameras will increase the safety on our roads.”
Municipalities across Peel have begun quickly to curb reckless and dangerous driving, though some have faced challenges. In Mississauga, a planned rollout of ASE cameras hit a snag this past summer due to delays posting 30 km/h speed limits in all school zones throughout the city and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Caledon and Brampton have also hit their own snags with the rollout, though efforts continue for implementation and testing, said representatives in both cities.
Mississauga is aiming to have zero fatalities from fatal or injury-causing collisions this year, said the city’s commissioner of transportation and works, Geoff Wright. “We are moving forward with numerous projects including lowering speed limits and implementing speed reduction initiatives, such as traffic calming, Community Safety Zones, and (a) Crossing Guard program.”
In addition to back to school initiatives, all three municipalities will be rolling out several road safety campaigns to create awareness around local initiatives, including pedestrian safety and neighbourhood speed limits.
The defacing of speed limit cameras is not a new occurrence. This past June, police in Toronto began a hunt for a thief who stole an 800-pound photo radar machine that usually requires a hydraulic lift to move.
Brampton’s Ward 3 and 4 city councillor, Jeff Bowman, told Asia Metro News Wednesday that, “The speed cameras were installed in designated Community Safety Zones across the city. These areas were designated due to their proximity to schools, or community centres, parks or areas of high child or even seniors use. We have had issues for years with speeding in these areas, and it was decided to utilize speed radar cameras to help keep the area safe for residents. To have a camera vandalized within the first week, now again after it was installed, is totally unacceptable and shows total disregard for the safety of residents in the area by those who are responsible.”
After the machine was stolen from near Parkdale early last month, officials asked the public for help, noting that the equipment was taken from the area during the June 10-12th weekend. The weight of the machine is approximately equal to the weight of a moose.
This theft is at least the fifth time Toronto’s “automatic speed execution” cameras have been stolen. Each is worth about $50,000.
“These cameras make money… the person who attacked them was not a boy or a new driver,” said a Brampton resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They are ordinary drivers and use cars to do business every day. They are working hard to defend their livelihoods.”