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Red-light violators spiking here and there

Has anyone noticed that more people are running red lights over the last several years in east Medford? I have a 10-minute commute and can guarantee I will see one flagrant example each time. Certainly, the wise among us are learning to enter intersections very carefully even if we have a green light. However, we are all tempted to do bad behavior since everyone else is doing it. Do the police have a way of tracking this bad behavior?

— Alan F., Medford

We're certainly hoping you don't engage in any "bad behavior," Alan. We've noticed a few people who shoot through yellow lights from time to time.

After checking in with Medford police Lt. Kevin Walruff, he said anecdotally he hasn't heard of any trend in the increase in red-light violators, although there have been spikes.

Looking deeper, he provided statistics for the red-light camera at Barnett Road and Stewart Avenue. In 2013, there were 1,628 violations. In 2014, there were 1,621, followed by 1,547 in 2015. This year, through August, we've had 1,314, which could mean 1,752 by the end of the year if the numbers hold steady. If the 2016 numbers are up, it could lend some credibility to your assertion, Alan. But generally the numbers have been declining except for a spike this year.

Walruff then looked up the numbers for McAndrews and Biddle roads, finding 194 violators in 2013, 171 in 2014 and a big jump in 2015 to 390. So far, up to August 2016, we've had 268, which could mean 356 by years end.

As you can see, Alan, there's nothing that points to a definitive increase in red-violators, though there have been some interesting spikes here and there.

Walruff said his officers haven't noticed any unusual increase in red-light violators, although he said you would expect to see more as the population increases.

Running red lights puts everyone at risk, Wallruff said, including pedestrians who might enter the travel lanes as a vehicle buzzes through.

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