The vast majority of US citizens detest these cameras. Most of those believe that its just an easy way for the government to take money from their pockets...and US citizens hate government taking money, since its seen as a tax. Most people believe that the red light cameras are set by the local government and the firms they hire to capture as many tickets as possible, and snap these photos (especially right on reds) and ticket cars that are in the 'borderline' of being legal. IMO, that these machines give out tickets that a police offer monitoring the corner would not give out. Kinda like driving 60 miles per hour in a 55.....cops don't care, but these machines ticket you.
And of course the government and the firms they sub the technology out to are incentivized to ticket as much as possible since thats how they make money.
I know all this is obvious, but my point is just that its not the press, or Baltimore Fox News, or the Baltimore Sun that hates these cameras......its everyone. The Sun is just doing its job printing a story of interest to sell papers.
IMO, the most likely thing reason for the messup is that BFDI was not equipped to handle a contract as big as Baltimore; and was probably naive in how to deal with big city government. Although it certainly is also possible, as many have mentioned here, that more blame should go to the City of Baltimore.
All the above is in my opinion.
fab, I disagree with some of what you wrote.
First off, I think it would be more accurate to say that most people don't like to be caught by cameras. Except for libertarian minded people, I'd say folks are generally ambivalent about them otherwise.
People may believe that cameras are less forgiving than a real cop, but in Maryland, people generally can tell you where the cameras are ("if you go down 295, there's a camera at mile marker such and such") and how they're set ("you have to be going 12 mph over the speed limit"). They probably do have a sense about which traffic light cameras are too quick, as you suggest.
I also think cameras have plenty of supporters..... within local governments. (If only there were someone who serves on a city council who would post about the pressures they get from the public on this issue) The police like them because they can slow drivers down without having to pay the salary of the officer sitting on the side of the road. Municipal governments are stretched thin but expected to provide service so they appreciate the income source. Citizens will always demand action when there are people driving "like a bat out of he11 down my road!" so they're comforted (or at least complain less) when the gov't does something about it.
Also, I think the Sun and Fox are clearly pushing an agenda in a way that is meant to sway opinion, rather than just putting out an interesting story. I don't think you would deny that this can be effective because there are entire industries filled with creative people trying to do this very thing. Other municipalities have tried the opposite, trying to generate support for camera programs as a safety feature.
In the end, you may be right that Brekford was/is not up to the task. My guess, at this point, is that Baltimore has decided that for the sake of politics it needs more accuracy than Brekford (or perhaps any vendor) can provide.
I understand your point, but I disagree for the most part. I still believe most citizens think the cameras are unfair, and dont like dislike them. Obviously not all.....I'm sure they have supporters like you stated, but imo, a large majority are on the other side.
And BFDI or any contractor is incentivized not to be fair, but to capture as many tickets as possible, since thats how they make money. Perhaps thats what has gotten them in trouble in this case....too agressive a systmem. From what I've read, Fox and The Sun believe the current system of paying on a per ticket basis is a bad one. I agree. And they argue for a flat fee to make the system at least appear more fair, so the vendor is not paid for each ticket issued, but rather for setting up the system one time and then be paid for maintenance and clerical duties.. I agree with that as well.
From what I've read, the Sun did some investigating and reported on it. That's what newspapers and journalists do. Its not their responsibility to gauge the effect their reporting might have on a public companies share price, whether the report ends up being right or wrong in the end. That should have no consideration, imo.
Kip, I think you nailed it with every sentence.
FWIW, I currently live in a libertarian country...likely the most libertarian in the world...with cameras that are indicated via signage and which have been in place for years. Still get frequent tickets, and am frequently passed (and pressed to speed) by other drivers. My neighbors/friends/colleagues are resigned to their presence. Heck, I'm a Libertarian and I'm buying in because it's easy to see (and secretly hope for, for the sake of my kids) a future where cameras keep us safe.
On a totally unrelated note, posters seem steamed about BFDI's lack of communication. I think we need to consider that if BFDI assassinates the character of Baltimore, the well is poisoned. Odds of future business in any municipality would likely diminish significantly. Their best/only alternative (that I can think of) is stoic silence. Yes...there's a chance the silence is 'convenient' and they simply published a report that was written prior to the drama, but I choose to believe they are sticking to the facts while pulling levers to land on their feet without negative press, lawsuits, etc.
In fact, I received forgiveness for my 'Phase I' investment already from my amazing wife, and conjured the courage last night (after reading the Q report) to suggest 'Phase II' if silence persists, insiders continue to hold, and the stock continues to drop. I was rebuffed...but we both know I'll be back. :)