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Mississauga's speed cameras have been vandalized 172 times this year. Some councillors want action
Sept. 13, 2023

Mississauga needs to change its automated speed enforcement camera program because of reoccurring vandalism to the grey metal boxes that contain the cameras, two city councillors say.

Already this year, the city says it has received reports of 172 reports of vandalism to its automated speed enforcement camera units. In 2022, it received 161 reports of vandalism.

The city has 22 speed cameras, two per ward, meant to enforce speed limits in what are known as school-area community safety zones. In school zones, the speed limit is 30 kilometres per hour.

Coun. Stephen Dasko, who represents Ward 1, said vandals have spray-painted graffiti on the units, knocked them over and spray-painted their lenses to prevent them from taking photographs.

"It's been abused. It's been spray-painted. Actually, somebody had smashed one with a rock recently. Quite frankly, they get toppled over on a regular basis," Dasko said on Tuesday.

Dasko said the city has a contract with an external company to supply and maintain the speed cameras and the hope they can work together to find a solution.

For example, he said the speed cameras could be moved out of reach to prevent people from damaging the units.

"What makes sense, is if we could have them relocated to being on a pole, or somewhere that is outside of somebody easily being able to get their hands on it," he said.

Damaged cameras could give 'false sense of security'
On its website, the city of Mississauga says speeding is a serious problem on its roads and the cameras help to "make our streets safer for everyone by encouraging drivers to slow down and obey the speed limit."

But they don't work if they have been tampered with, said Dasko.

Coun. Stephen Dasko
"When they're toppled over, they're not functional, they're not doing their job," he said. "And I don't want anybody... to have a false sense of security that this is operational."

Dasko said one camera set up in his ward in front of Port Credit Secondary School has been regularly pushed over on its side. Two people flipped it over on Friday night.

Dasko said somebody has been spray-painting "try again" on its units.

The vandalism often happens at night, he said.

"Quite often it's in the cloak of darkness, so a lot of times we'll wake up to getting these reports," he said.

1 camera knocked over 18 times: councillor
Coun. Matt Mahoney, who represents Ward 8, said at a council meeting on Sept. 6 that one speed camera on a street in his ward has been knocked over about 18 times. He said it's frustrating for residents to see.

Mahoney said the city could contact Peel Regional Police about ways to prevent vandalism and the local school boards. He added schools could look at setting up surveillance cameras to monitor the speed cameras and signs could be put up to let people know that there is surveillance.

"Certainly, we need to look at some solutions," he said. "It's a problem that all of us deal with regularly and it's not going to go away unless we find a solution."

On its website, the city says that when a driver exceeds the speed limit in an area covered by the speed camera, the system captures an image. That image is then reviewed by a provincial offences officer and a ticket is issued.

The ticket, along with a digital copy of the image and an image of the licence plate, is mailed to the person who is a registered plate holder within 30 days of the offence.

"Tickets are issued to the owner of the vehicle regardless of who was driving. No demerit points will be issued and the registered owner's driving record will not be impacted" the city says on its website.