A sheriff's investigation is under way today into the theft of three red light cameras valued at roughly $14,000 that were stolen from the intersection of South Street and Gridley Road near several weeks ago.
American Traffic Solutions, Inc. (ATS), the company that installs and monitors the city's red light cameras, reported the Nikon digital cameras missing to the on May 16. The cameras are used in conjunction with video cameras at South Street and Gridley Road to capture still photographs when a motorist blows through a red light.
"No photos were being captured from the violations occurring at the intersection for some time," prompting ATS representatives to check on the cameras, said Cerritos sheriff's deputy Tim Britt. It is believed the equipment was stolen during the period of April 24 and May 16, according to the sheriff's station.
Britt said the thief would have likely had to use a ladder or lift truck because the cameras are located considerably high on the street poles. "Nothing was cut and everything was done as if the cameras were being serviced, so obviously it was someone who knew what they were doing, knew how to break into the casing, unhook the cameras and steal them."
The three cameras were replaced by ATS within a few days after they were discovered missing, the deputy added.
Investigators are still reviewing video from the intersection that may lead to the person(s) responsible for this crime. Anyone who may have seen something suspicious during the period the cameras were believed to have been stolen is asked to call the Cerritos Sheriff's Station at (562) 860-0044.
"If someone may have witnessed something strange at the intersection, we'd love to talk to them," Britt said.
The use of red light traffic cameras in Cerritos was approved by the city council in 2002, and the system is currently implemented at three city intersections:
- South Street and Gridley Road
- South Street and Studebaker Road
- Bloomfield Avenue and Artesia Boulevard
In 2002, a total of 24 red-light violation-triggered collisions were reported, compared to just four accidents attributed to the red-light infractions in 2011, according to a city report.
"They've had a positive affect on accidents in those intersections almost immediately," Britt said. "Accidents really went down as soon as the red light cameras were used in the city in 2003. They've done their job and really have decreased the amount of traffic collisions in those intersection -- mainly broadside accidents -- the type of accidents that can really hurt, or even kill people."