Vigilantes have thwarted speed traps across three continents over the past two weeks. In south Essex, UK a speed camera located next to Canvey Fire Station was set alight with a gasoline-soaked tire. The £40,000 (US $60,000) device on Long Road in Canvey was destroyed, despite its proximity to firefighters who eventually managed to put out the blaze. Just one week before another camera was torched on the A127 in Southend bringing the total number of south Essex cameras destroyed in the past year-and-a-half to eight, according to the Echo newspaper.
In Queensland, Australia, members of the public grew outraged over a plan to install a new laser-based speed camera technology designed to be hidden behind bushes. During testing of the device on the Maroondah Highway in Croydon on November 5, vigilantes covered the camera in spray paint. On November 15, a three citizens tied a chain to the replacement camera and tore it from the ground with their white Subaru station wagon, according to the Herald Sun newspaper. Police have run out of replacements.
In Scott Township, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, vigilantes grabbed speed trap equipment from the side of the road at around 3:45pm.
Officer Joseph Gillott was using an Enradd speed measuring system on Route 347 that day. After finishing writing a ticket to a motorist, Gillott turned around to find that one of his Enradd sensors was gone. Local jurisdictions in Pennsylvania are banned by state law from using radar because lawmakers believe they would only use the devices to generate revenue from passing motorists. To get around the law, these localities use non-radar systems such as Enradd. The device uses infrared sensors placed on both sides of a road to calculate speed from the amount of time a vehicle takes to pass between two points.
The embarrassed police department now has until Monday to explain to the manufacturer, North Central Safety Traffic, that it has no idea where the rest of the $5000 system might be. The company had loaned the device in the hopes of convincing the department to purchase its product.
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