Elmwood Place speed cameras nab plenty

CINCINNATI - The greeting "Merry Christmas" at an abandoned house at 12 Township Avenue in Elmwood Place may seem a bit dated.

But the gifts originating from the trailer in the front yard are flowing, regardless.

Traffic tickets.

A lot of them.

Lisa Merrill got two in one day. She thought the innocuous machine was a light for repairmen working on the house. Instead, she learned it is a self-powered traffic camera, automatically generating tickets to anyone who exceeds the 25 mph speed limit.

And apparently, even to some who don't.

"I was doing 25 mph in a 25," said recipient Vanessa Gbenedio from North Avondale.

"I don't know how many tickets I'll get," said Mac Cheung, who drives on Township Avenue regularly to get to his daughter's daycare.

"It's like a trap," he said. "It's like a money making machine or something."

Several took their complaints straight to the police department.

Many, if not all, of the tickets were for $105. 

A landlord, who wouldn't identify himself, complained to the mayor's office that his tenants have gotten so many tickets, they're unable to pay rent.

Mayor Stephanie Morgan wasn't in to take the complaint, nor talk to the media on Monday.

Police Chief William Peskin said three cameras were installed; one on Township Avenue, Vine Street and Prosser Avenue because of complaints of speeding and reckless driving.

He says the tickets go to the registered owner of the vehicle, not necessarily the driver.

The tickets are considered a civil offense, not a moving violation, and don't count against a driver's license or insurance.

"If not paid, however, they could affect one's credit rating," Peskin said because they are sent to a collection agency.

The tickets can be contested by requesting an administrative hearing with Elmwood Place.

And while the police chief says he has no idea how much money the cameras are generating, it's obvious the system is a gift that will keep on giving.

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