Ari Ashe, wtop.com
PALMER PARK, Md. – Since Prince George’s County police started monitoring a speed camera that had been destroyed, none of the county’s 72 mobile speed cameras has been vandalized or damaged.
WTOP was first to report about the security camera’s installation in September.
“Since then, the word has gotten out,” says Maj. Robert Liberati, who runs the speed camera program.
“This is public property and we’re going to prosecute people that are apprehended.”
Liberati initially said he hoped to install up to a dozen more of the security cameras. Now he says there are no plans to add any new security cameras to the 72 speed cameras in the county.
However, he keeps an eye on any new technology that would make it easier for police to protect speed cameras from vandals.
Six speed cameras were damaged between April and July of 2012.
On April 6, someone pulled a gun out and shot a camera on the 11400 block of Duley Station Road near U.S. Route 301 in Upper Marlboro, Md. The bullet got stuck in the inner casing and nothing was damaged.
Two weeks later, a speed camera was flipped over at 500 Harry S. Truman Drive, near Prince George’s Community College. Police believe several people were involved because of the weight of the camera.
In May, someone walked up to a camera on Brightseat Road near FedEx Field, cut off one of the four legs, and left. Police repaired the camera by simply attached a new leg on the camera.
Police realized that there was a problem when someone burned down a speed camera on Race Track Road near Bowie State College in July.
When a replacement camera went up, police added a security camera to watch the speed camera and catch anyone who tried to destroy it again.
“We’ve been lucky, I’m sure. But I would like to think they’re becoming more accepted as well,” says Liberati.
“We get request nearly every day from communities who want these cameras.”
The problem of speed cameras being vandalized or damaged isn’t only in Prince George’s County.
Last April, someone in Baltimore County set a speed camera on fire in Catonsville on South Rolling Road.
Last June, an Ellicott City man was arrested for shooting marbles from a slingshot at a Howard County speed camera van. He was sentenced to community service and restitution.