Takoma Park speed camera vandalized

For many, speed cameras are an annoyance at best and a civic curse at worst – especially here on New Hampshire Avenue, one of the area’s most popular thoroughfares.

David McKenzie is a resident of Hyattsville and has pretty strong opinions:

"We hate them! And this camera taking a hundred dollars here and a hundred dollars there. Money coming out and not coming in! We are gonna feel it -- everybody feels it!"

Recently, someone was compelled to fight back. Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on August 2, police say a vandal sprayed black paint on the front of a Takoma Park speed camera. A contractor discovered the mess hours later during daily maintenance.

Drivers say that as much as they dislike the cameras, they’d never have the nerve to do such a thing.

"I mean, I’d think about it, but I’d never do anything like that," says Takoma Park resident, Tristina Mancuso.

Police say the camera on New Hampshire Avenue is one of the busiest around – signs show the area is a camera corridor, but speeders keep pushing the pedal over 35 miles per hour. In just two and a half months, this particular camera has issued more than 1,000 tickets.

Takoma Park resident Charles Gravier understands the frustration, but cannot justify the act of vandalism. And he got two tickets in one month himself.

"The cameras are keeping us safe," he says. "I don't like getting the tickets myself, but they're keeping us safe.”

Believe it or not, Takoma Park Police say they have little empathy for drivers. Sgt. K. Gilbert says:

"There is anger that goes along with the speed cameras. We understand it, it happens -- here and in other areas of the county."

Like in areas such as Silver Spring, where vandals knocked down two speed cameras last November.

Police say they have no leads or substantial clues, but they are asking for the public to call (301) 270-1100 with any information.

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