Where are the speed traps?


Here is the latest from thenewspaper.com.

The title and headline of the article are
" Report Explores Speed Trap Towns In St Louis, Missouri
Half of the traffic ticket revenue in Missouri comes from the suburbs of St. Louis."

If a reader might be expecting to receive data that would indict certain places in St Louis County as being a "speed trap town" and giving any details of why these places should be classified as "speed traps", they will be disappointed. There is nothing in the article and nothing in the lengthy report (Public Safety – Municipal Courts). indeed, The word "speed" does not occur in the report at all.

The full paragraph from the report reads:


There is sufficient evidence, both of practice and intent, for the conclusion to be drawn that municipal courts are not being used as instruments of justice and public safety, but rather as revenue generators for municipalities that would otherwise struggle or simply be unable to survive. Furthermore, the fact that the municipalities most reliant on fines and fees for revenue are disproportionately poor lends to the belief that the revenue generated by fines and fees is intended to supplement revenue that would come from property and sales taxes in more affluent areas. However, not all revenue from fines comes from residents of the particular municipality collecting the fines. This is especially true of those municipalities that include parts of I-70, I-170, and I-270. A motorist driving to the airport from Clayton or from downtown St. Louis may encounter three or four patrol cars with radar from three or more separate municipalities. These
highways may be the most over-policed roadways in the state.

Now, one of the things that is important to know is that the group "Better Together St. Louis" is a supposedly grass roots project sponsored by the Missouri Council for a Better Economy which is an organization solely funded by a billionaire named Rex Sinquefield (see http://www.mc4be.com/about-us/, http://www.bettertogetherstl.com/about and http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://... [ click on text version, if necessary])

It would seem like this person is saying that the revenue from "fines and fees" (which I assume includes things other than moving traffic violations) falls disproportionally on the poor and is trying to make the case that more revenue should come from "property taxes and sales taxes in more affluent areas".

While that position might be supportable, it certainly does not argue that any of the traffic violations were unwarranted. Indeed, they seem to all be given by police officers (which opponents of Automated Traffic Enforcement have long claimed to be preferable to being ticketed by cameras).

I continue to be amazed by how the authors at thenewspaper.com mislead and misrepresent.