Bellevue traffic cameras issue twice as many infractions as officers

by: Alison Grande Updated:

Loading

You're twice as likely to get a traffic infraction from a traffic camera than from a traffic officer in Bellevue, according to data by the Bellevue Police Department Wednesday.

The city has nine photo enforcement cameras placed at major intersections and near schools and they issue an average of nearly 86 tickets a day.

According to data released Wednesday in the Bellevue Police Department's Annual Report for 2016, photo enforcement issued 31,304 infractions and traffic officers issued 15,415 infractions.

"That's just an easy explanation. We have more cameras than we do officers and the officers are doing other things, taking accidents, responding to calls for service and they only work 40 hours a week and the cameras are 24/7," said Bellevue Police Captain Jonathan Hoffman.

Hoffman said the city is down two traffic officers as the department faces hiring challenges, and traffic officers are helping on other calls.

The number of photo enforced infractions is down 10 percent from the previous year. Bellevue police say that shows the cameras are changing driving behavior.

"It's been very effective for us. We've seen a reduction overall of violations at the areas where we've had the cameras. That shows us people are getting the message and are abiding by the traffic laws, which is what we want to see," said Capt. Hoffman.

There was an anomaly noticed at 148th Ave NE and Bel-Red Road where photo enforced infractions are up 119 percent northbound and 74 percent southbound. The police department isn't sure what is causing the increase, but It could have to do with growth and drivers crossing the city to get from I-90 to 520 and back.

"I'm not surprised at all. This location and the one over by the Bravern are really high traffic areas," said driver Karl Hilmann.

Hilmann isn’t a fan of the red light

“I’ve never gotten a ticket but I kind of feel like it’s a bit of trap," a driver named Kathy told KIRO 7.

A photo enforced traffic citation is $136, but if an officer stops you it could be closer to $300.

An officer reviews each camera citation before it is issued.

The city doesn't plan to add any more traffic cameras at this time.