Tempe Photo Enforcement Propaganda Exposed

This is a follow up to the post from a few days about about the Arizona Republic article that boasted a 16% reduction in crashes since the camera program started. While the number is accurate, it hides a sordid truth about the composition of those numbers. Here is the data from a report I requested from the City of Tempe Police:

Tempe Traffic Statistics

Tempe Traffic Statistics

961 = Traffic Accident
962 = Traffic Accident with Injuries
963 = Traffic Accident with Fatalities
H = Hit and Run

For the purposes of discussion, I combined the hit and run and non-hit and run figures for each call type.

What the media DIDN’T tell you is that injury crashes decreased only 1.84% and fatality crashes increased 43%! When you think about safety, you think about injuries and fatalities. The cameras were supposed to increase safety, but yet again, we have evidence that cameras make the roads MORE DANGEROUS.

As mentioned in the previous posts, this data is hardly conclusive as it does not consider changes in police presence and enforcement methods, changes in laws (such as DUI laws), changes in traffic volumes, national safety trends/increasingly safer cars, and we lack data for prior years. I can only speculate because I don’t have figures, but if we assume everything stayed about the same with the exception of DUI laws which did become much stricter in 2008 and traffic volumes which we assume decreased due to the recession and high fuel prices, then we should naturally expect a decrease in accidents due to factors OTHER than cameras. With this consideration, it should be alarming to city officials that there was only a slight (1.84%) reduction in injuries and a dramatic increase in fatalities. I think it’s easy and reasonable to speculate that injuries and fatalities would have increased had it not been for stricter DUI laws and lower traffic.

I’d encourage everyone to write the article author at dianna.nanez@arizonarepublic.com and ask her why she didn’t report the full story.



  1. Brian Keves
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I am sorry but going from 7 fatalities to 10 fatalities year to year is not enough data to even possibly show a trend to support that radar cameras are not working. Firstly, you need to get enough data points to make any statistical analysis accurately. Secondly, if you are going to do a year over year analysis on such a small sample size, you must plot the data over at least ten years and plot the trendline. This will help exclude variable years that are outside of the trend.

    If you wish to use statistics to support your suppositions you need to do the analysis correctly. Your conclusion may be correct, but it is just a guess without proper data.



    Brian, You are most definitely correct, which is why I said that the data is not conclusive. The topic of the blog entry is the propaganda by the media, not the increase in fatalities. The media saw fit to report its conclusion of 16% total reduction in collisions due to cameras as statistically significant and meaningful and headline-worthy. So to extend the media’s logic and the media’s conclusion, the cameras must also be responsible for the 43% increase in fatalities – but they conveniently don’t bother to mention that part. Clearly this shows that the media has an agenda to “sell” photo enforcement, otherwise they would have come to the same conclusion that we did and as responsible journalists would not have run that headline and derived that bogus (16%) conclusion. –admin

  2. Linda Ludwick
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Its all about the state finding an easy way to make money.They are broke due to wastless spending of our tax dollars.Guess what they
    found a new ways to screw us.Speak out,let them know we dont like it.At Christmas time my husband got a ticket for $180.we needed the money so bad then.He was going the speed limit all of a sudden on a hill it dropped to 55 p.h.Entrapment, photo radar right there. They pulled that camera after several complaints but they got a lot of our Christmas money.We had very little.Two of our boys that are in the military sure could of used a few more gifts.

    I agree it’s about the money for the state partially, but more so it’s because the equipment vendors are wining and dining politicians and making influential donations. –admin

  3. Dan
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    My problem is with enforcement of these of citations. The 1st contact is generally accepted to be a blank. Most people ignore it. The 2nd contact also a blank. Also ignored. 3rd contact “Final Notice” also deemed a blank since it isn’t served by person. Then the “real” citation via process server warning of higher costs and fees if you contest the ticket and setting a deadline for possible loss of your license, etc. 3 blanks and a Maybe. Law Enforcement? What do you suppose would happen to public safety in arizona if DPS told everyone that the first 3 shots from an Officers firearm were blanks, and the 4th might be a real bullet?

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  1. […] Tempe’s “Bait and Switch” Photo Radar Statistics What happens when government officials tout statistics without challenge or critical review from the “Fourth Estate“? You get an irresponsible and sorry excuse for reporting from the Arizona Republic, as recently exposed by PhotoRadarScam.com. […]

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