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As you increase the certainty of getting caught, the level of fine ought to go down:

It would make sense to lower fines, if DC adds more cameras to catch more unsafe behavior...Criminologist Mark Kleiman has done substantial research on the tradeoff between the severity of punishment and the certainty of getting caught. A long prison term might deter someone from a crime more than a short prison term, but a far better deterrent is simply arresting people more quickly and more frequently when they commit a crime.

Kleiman studied fairly complex policing strategies to achieve this in criminal law, such as focusing intense police attention on a certain area for a period of time. For traffic, it's simple. With cameras, it's possible to enforce more of the laws against unsafe driving behavior, more of the time.

At a recent policy forum, I met Kleiman and asked him what he thought of cameras. He said the ideal enforcement system would be one where running a red light, or speeding, triggered a fine every time, but the fine was fairly low.

by Falls Church on Nov 19, 2012 2:30 pm • linkreport

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