Baltimore Camera Audit Finds Error Rates of Up to 50 Percent

January 24, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

A secret Baltimore camera audit on dozens of cameras across the city found that some cameras had a 10 to 50 percent error rate in issuing tickets.

The speed cameras have been heavily criticized since their introduction across Maryland several years ago, with many people complaining about the accuracy of the tickets and how some of the money from the tickets goes to the foreign tech firms that manage them.

The speed camera program in Baltimore was actually shut down but city officials continued contending that the program was sound. However, documents from the secret audit obtained by Fox showed the high error rates, contradicting what officials were saying.

It could mean that tens of thousands of tickets were issued in error, according to Fox. City officials used $268,000 of taxpayer funds to pay a consulting firm called URS to conduct the audit, but refused to make the findings public.

One city councilman said that people should be reimbursed for the erroneously issued tickets that they paid.

“I think that there’s a point where the vendor figured, ‘they’ll just pay it,’ Councilman Carl Stokes told Fox. “And in most cases people did just pay it. I think it’s unethical if not more. [They] absolutely should be refunded. To have an erroneous operation, almost like a sting operation, it’s just horrible. I’m so outraged by it.”

Stokes drafted a bill that would allow the council’s taxation and finance committee to issue the subpoena to the city law department to obtain the audit. 

AAA urged counties across the state and even other states to conduct audits in the wake of the documents being made public, reported the Baltimore Sun.

“We really don’t know how widespread this problem is,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s manager of government affairs and a member of the city’s speed camera task force.

“If it’s a significant issue in other jurisdictions, we simply don’t know.”

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