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Fear Grows In Nassau Over Alleged Malfunctioning Red-Light Cameras

County Says It's Not An Issue, But One Resident Remains On A Crusade
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A sign warning the public that red light cameras are in use. (Photo: CBSNY)

A sign warning the public that red light cameras are in use. (Photo: CBSNY)

CARLE PLACE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Red-light cameras seem to be everywhere, capturing the license plates of scofflaws and sending costly tickets by mail.

But some Long Island drivers are seeing red over what they claim are malfunctioning cameras.

For weeks Angela Crescenzi and her neighbors have gathered at their favorite Italian deli to complain. While nobody likes the proliferation of red-light cameras, they say, imagine if they were malfunctioning. They claim some are and are snapping would be-scofflaws when lights are yellow — not red.

“I would never pass a red. I passed the green. As soon as I passed the green it turned yellow and, boom, it went off,” Crescenzi told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Crescenzi, a grandmother and realtor, logged on to Nassau County’s red-light camera website. She typed in her violation number and viewed the color photo of her car at the intersection in question. She maintains the light was yellow. Her computer was unable to download the accompanying video and she remains unconvinced that she was at fault. The idea of paying the $65 fine has her furious.

“I’m petrified. I tell my husband I’m avoiding going to Pathmark because you have to pass Marcus Avenue and Union Turnpike. I am so mad it’s unbelievable,” Crescenzi said.

Nassau County’s Traffic Safety Board agrees that cameras can flash randomly when they’re getting calibrated and that might confuse drivers. They say cameras snapping photos during green or yellow lights are rejected.

Still, Crescenzi and her neighbors say they’ve been monitoring three specific intersections — in New Hyde Park, Franklin Square and Carle Place — and claim cameras are, at times, faulty.

“Camera goes off – all it does is click, click, click. Jennifer, I believe these tickets are not right.”

The county says all scofflaws are caught not only by snapshot but also on moving video, which is reviewed and confirmed by humans before tickets are sent in the mail to your home.

There are some 100 red-light cameras on Long Island. Nassau and Suffolk counties say they keep roads safe and are excellent sources of revenue.

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