We recently wrote about a guy “caught” by a redlight camera who had to decode the numerical codes on the photos sent to him to prove he didn’t actually run the red light. It was disturbing enough to find out that police were sending motorists tickets when they obeyed the law, but reader Brent points us to an even more problematic situation. Apparently, at least some police are simply taking guesses on license plates if they can’t read all the letters correctly — and they’re sending tickets to the wrong people because of it. The police in the story insist that if they can’t read the plate, they won’t send a ticket, but the reporter covering the story shows at least two cases where that’s simply not true, and where it seems clear that police just took a guess — sending tickets to the wrong parties.
We are starting to see those red light cameras around here. I sure hope they have a process that does not entangle innocent people simply because they want to collect fines. Part of the reason I do not want automatic methods for detecting criminals. They almost always work less effectively than humans.