Velocity of Money and the True Impacts of Photo Radar & other Abusive Traffic enforcement on the economy and public safety

Velocity of Money and the True Impacts of Photo Radar & other Abusive Traffic enforcement on the economy and public safety

Mar 3 2016 – Kevin Yaworski

Updated: May 31 2016 – added details from WPS traffic enforcement for 2015 and related

The following are facts reported in Winnipeg Police Service and City of Winnipeg Annual Reports, by the media and via Freedom of Information Requests and links to source info and more details below.

WPS annual statements for several years have been showing Serious Crime rates (violent and property) are about 3x higher than the Canadian average (even higher than 3x when comparing to Cities with the least serious crime which should be their target).

What is WPS mandated or legislated to do? I assume to prevent and reduce crime as well as improve public safety. Is there any consequences when they do not follow this mandate or legislation and have other priorities? Does the City Council and Police Board just throw more money at it, do they look at what they are doing or not doing to try and achieve this mandate?

A recent news article reported The WPS is bringing in more money than ever before from photo enforcement because of higher fines for speeding in construction and school zones. These and other fines are up to 6x higher than anywhere else in Canada.

The following CTV News article says

“Decrease in photo enforcement tickets causes police revenues to drop”

But is dropping a small amount from a ridiculously high number much of a drop?

Wow this is worse than they had estimated and I thought. The article says “In 2015, a total of 10,002 red light offences and 29,366 speeding offences were captured at intersection safety cameras. Meanwhile, mobile photo radar captured 108,968 vehicles in violation.”
That is 148,336 photo radar tickets plus WPS officers have been issuing about 45 – 55k per year the last few years and it has been trending up.That is a whopping 200,000+ traffic tickets just in 2015 and for a city of less than 400k drivers some of which rarely drive. With many tickets doubled here and 6 x higher than other places in Canada I estimate the avg ticket is about $350 (generously low).
That is about $70,000,000 or $70 Million collected from mostly Manitobans and many of these tickets unfair or illegal due to known traffic engineering deficiencies and other serious issues.
A lot of this money goes to ACS / Xerox who are paid to calibrate, test and operate the cameras and issue the tickets which is a conflict of interest.

In June 2015 the media reported they were on target to issue 120k Photo Radar Tickets for the year so that means they really stepped it up. What happened to their repeated claims for years now that more enforcement reduces violations and improves safety? That diverting officers from other units and paying Millions in OT for “Project Drive” and likely others to do traffic duty improves safety? What are the impacts to loosing these officers from more important units?. Why do we continue to have one of the worse serious crime rates (violent and property) in Canada?

How much of this “revenue” is helping improve safety or even reduce the City or Provinces Net Debt which is almost 1 Billion and over 20 Billion? The answer is little to none as we will see below.

The article also says
“There were 33 Intersection Safety Cameras (ISCs) rotating through areas with statistically high rates of “unsafe” driving behaviour.”

I wonder where they got these stats from? Do they really think we believe that more violations at these cameras means more unsafe driving? They have been told repeatedly by WUW and others that if they look at where the traffic engineering deficiencies are the worst that is where the most violations occur so it has nothing to do with driver behaviour. FIPPA requests and several proven studies and engineering standards have shown us this and when this brought to their attention they ignore or spew more propaganda.

When you look at the fact that a dollar changes hands just over 6 times based on the Velocity of Money formula then when you extrapolate the impact of loosing this $70 MILLION out of the local economies it becomes about $490 MILLION just for 2015.  If you include all the unfair and illegal PR and traditional tickets since Photo Radar introduced in 2003 it quickly becomes over 13 BILLION.  Even more when you consider the hidden costs like higher court and Justice department costs than expected and predicted due to 10’s of 1000’s contesting unfair or illegal traffic tickets each year.

Why is WPS and the City not reporting any safety improvement stats for mobile PR to the Province as required in the Conditions of Authority amendments to the HTA? Why are they only doing this sometimes for fixed PR but even then it incomplete or inaccurate stats from WPS and only part of the more accurate and complete stats from.  Data available from MPIC.  If you look at the complete data including traffic counts /  flows  and present it fairly without bias it makes it clear there is no improvement and in most cases more accidents.  The use misleading statements like it reduces T bone accidents which are more dangerous to try and ignore the huge increase in other accidents, injuries and damages.  The Province is not requesting these reports for mobile photo enforcement or accurate stats fir fixed because it diesn’t improve safety.   nor are they enforcing any consequences for not abiding by this legislation and other parts of the HTA that was put in place to prevent abuse and improve public safety on the roads.


According to City of Wpg budget and WPS reports, around $14.6 million was brought in from about 120k Photo Radar (PR) tickets issued in those areas in 2014. That’s $3 million or 25 percent more than the previous year.

These reports show Photo Radar REVENUE Up 25% but they didn’t expand cameras or mobile units that I am aware of so did we get 25% more drivers or did drivers get 25% worse?
I thought these programs were supposed to improve safety and reduce violations?

What they don’t include in the reports is how the contract and agreement works which is “the Province gets 50% of the gross revenue. The city of Winnipeg gets the other 50% however they pay Xerox / ACS what equates to about 25%. So when you read that the City of Winnipeg made $14m last year – know that the money that left the pockets of Winnipegger’s was actually about $56m.”

Last May construction zone fines doubled and drivers now have to slow down whether workers are present or not.

The minimum fine for speeding in a construction zone is about $300 while speeding in a school zone will typically result in a fine between $180-$300.

Why were Speed limits in many school zones were slowed to 30 km/h WITHOUT a proper review of whether it was likely to improve safety or not?

What are the social impacts of this drain on the Justice department and the disrespect of the Police, City and Province that this abuse is having? Is the public less likely to assist the police or governments in investigations etc… if they abused like this?

If you don’t mind or care about this lack of public safety improvement or this drain and dis-respect do you care about higher legitimate taxes or revenue or lack of or reduced services?

Are they using this REVENUE to reduce the City and Provinces net debt and interest payments made every year which would allow taxes to be reduced and services improved?

It doesn’t look like it with net debt of the Province and City as of last year being:
$2,040,000,000 (or 20.4 Billion which is 143% of total revenue)
$ 942,600,000 (or just shy of 1 Billion which is xxx% of total revenue)
I am too afraid to calculate how long it will take to pay this off? Current generation of tax payers are nearly bankrupt but will happen for future generations?

Meanwhile the Province and City’s credit ratings recently downgraded. Moody’s credit rating agency noted, the provincial debt is growing quickly — from 116 per cent of government revenues in 2011 to an estimated 143 per cent this year. In raw numbers, the net debt has gone from $12.5 billion to $20.4 billion in five years.
Credit downgrades normally lead to higher interest rates. The province already pays almost $900 million a year to service its debt load.

I guess the lenders love when governments (i.e. the tax payers) are paying this much interest. Do the banks donate to any of the political campaigns for those in power?

Is it past due for more people to stand up and do something about this abuse?

Should you contact the following to ask them about these facts and impacts and what they plan to do to address?

Premier, Minister of MIT, Minister of Finance, Auditor General of Manitoba, the Mayor, your MLA and City Councillor, the WPS Police Chief, those on the WPS board and others that have made decisions that have allowed this abusive enforcement and revenue generation to start or continue?

To help you decide here is more facts:

A large portion of the millions collected goes to 3rd party for profit company ACS / Xerox who are paid to calibrate, test and operate the cameras and issue the tickets which is a conflict of interest. Also executives of this and other photo radar companies have been charged or convicted of fraud, bribery or other corruption crimes and investigated for other serious crimes. This companies board of directors is demanding a profit or executives get fired. Yet WPS, the City and Province continue to partner with them and turn a blind eye when the programs not operated fairly or even legally.

A City of Winnipeg internal audit of image capture enforcement aka photo radar (publicly avail) even said that if enough tickets are not generated the program loses money after paying ACS and that the contract was not negotiated fairly and other serious issues. That even before the other costs they purposely don’t report including much higher than expected court costs from 25% of people contesting the many unfair and illegal tickets and other hidden costs. ACS and other companies have lost contracts when it becomes clear the programs loose money when operated fairly but they are loosing money even now when you look at the hidden costs plus economic and social impacts.

According to the city’s 2014 annual report the city’s debt hit $942.6 million, up from $496.4 million in 2010. The city used to have a pay-as-you go policy for most infrastructure spending, including road repair. And while city hall did incur some debt in past years, it was largely under control. In fact, debt actually fell in 2005 and 2007. But it began to soar in 2012 — one of the last years of former mayor Sam Katz’s administration — after the city decided to abandon its pay-as-you-go policy.

City debt jumped to $782.6 million in 2012, up from $558.4 million the previous year, according to the city’s annual report.

More info below.

There has been lots of media attention and individual complaints about abuses in Manitoba’s Provincial Traffic Court for several years now but little to nothing has been done.
– The crown has repeatedly stayed traffic tickets especially photo radar when the accused well prepared with the facts.
– The crown has been offering for several years now to reduce fine by half as a bribe to reduce to guilty with explanation.  They even caught lying when asked if operator or officers present.
– Crown attorneys, JJP’s, officers, operators have lied on and off the record and when caught there has been no consequences.  Transcripts and eye witnesses available for this.
Also the current and past Provincial governments involvement needs to be exposed as they share the revenue and have not enforced the Conditions of Authority and other parts of the HTA meant to protect the public from this type of abuse and to actually improve public safety.
After reading this and other facts and evidence made available it becomes pretty clear we all need to demand an independent provincial inquiry and the RCMP asked to investigate if any criminal charges are required. Then those responsible for allowing or ignoring need to be fired without severance. Plus loss of pension funds for criminal behaviour in an amount equivalent to the severity of the crime. The contract needs to be terminated with ACS immediately and they sued for the illegal revenue they collected plus damages. Then all tickets paid back with the funds recovered from ACS and corrupted politicians pensions. Plus legislation and by-laws for reforms enforcing these consequences and to prevent this abuse from occurring
Not sure what an unfair or illegal traffic tickets is:
There is several examples but here is some of them:Where you are just about to exit the reduced speed zone and are clear of any construction or residential and are accelerating to new limit and photo radar or officer hiding and pulls you over. Technically you are speeding but the RCMP and most other cities won’t enforce this transition zone but many at WPS and mobile photo radar regularly do. Since it generates many more tickets than enforcing in the zone or even the start of the zone which if they did would slow more people down and improve safety.

Artificially lowered speed limit or red light amber time, incorrectly installed; missing or purposely removed speed limit; reduced speed; school or playground signs and other traffic engineering deficiencies.

Not properly signed as per hta is an illegal ticket. example dual signs on roads with more than 2 lanes going same direction. They have this as a standard practice in most if not all other cities in Canada except Winnipeg.

Artificially lowered amber time and limits and other issues not as per proven traffic engineering standards are not allowed in most cities but Wpg City Council have made their own rules and decided to ignored their own traffic engineering experts. The current and past Mayors (at least Bowman at Kates), Public Works Chair Janice Lukes and others currently or previously at City Council or the Trarffic department and previously at the Province have been told about this repeatedly but they continuously ignored. Hopefully the new PC government will listen. All of this has been well documented by WiseUpWinnipeg including much of it by the media.

Here is an example of  traffic enforcement in a city with similar size (slightly larger at about 880k vs about 700k in Wpg)
The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) issued nearly 128,000 traffic violations, including charges laid and warning, in 2013 with document and equipment violations (permit requirements, fail to carry insurance cards) accounting for 59 percent of all traffic offences. So if you exclude permit and insurance violations Ottawa had about 75,000 traffic violations including warnings.  Do we even have warning here anymore?  I think out of several thousand posts on WUW I have only read one that mentioned a warning.  My dad got a few warnings when they saw he had 5 merits when I was growing up and I never even seen him get a ticket. I even got a few warning when I was a young adult.  Now the majority of tickets just show up in peoples mail.  In 2013 Winnipeggers were issued about 150,000 speeding and red light tickets alone.
Here is an image of the upward trend of traffic tickets in Winnipeg even thought they claim increased traffic enforcement reduces violations and improves safety.
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Velocity of Money and the True Impacts of Photo Radar & other Abusive Traffic enforcement on the economy and public safety

Sources and related info.

“Decrease in photo enforcement tickets causes police revenues to drop”
Is dropping a small amount from a ridiculously high number much of a drop?

WPS Annual reports

Warning you may find the following facts about Crime rates & Traffic Enforcement very disturbing and it may force you into taking drastic actions.

 Public Safety and Proper use of Public Funds at City of Winnipeg

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things that I think are a matter of public interest or that I think others will be interested in
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