The Dayton chapter of the NAACP has launched an effort to remove the City of Dayton's recently reactivated traffic cameras. Group members allege the cameras unfairly target vulnerable communities in the Miami Valley.
The organization is aiming to collect 5,000 signatures on a petition to put the issue on the November ballot.
NAACP President Derrick Forward says the cameras disproportionately affect poor residents.
Of the seven traffic cameras currently operating in Dayton, six are located in zip codes with poverty levels over 35 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.
“At the end of the day what we want is more law enforcement officers on the street," says Forward. "We don’t want devices capturing speed ... If we want a safe community, then we need to make sure we have more law enforcement officers.”
The Dayton Police Department has said the cameras are needed to prevent accidents, and that Dayton’s cameras are located at the city’s most dangerous intersections.
A 2016 national study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found cities with traffic cameras experienced 21 percent fewer fatal red light running crashes than those without them.
Dayton’s camera program originally began in 2003, but was shuttered in 2015 following the passage of a state law restricting camera use. That law was struck down last year, and the city revived the program shortly afterward.