Traffic video system to expand in Hampton
Motorists on Route 8 are being monitored via a traffic camera system, primarily as an aid to solve hit-and-run accidents or other major vehicular investigations.
The system is currently in place at signals of two major intersections on the major roadway in Hampton Township, including one at each Duncan and Wildwood roads, which were put in place in 2017, Hampton Township Chief of Police Tom Vulakovich said.
The chief was approved for a third location on Route 8 and Hardies Road at the council’s June 27 meeting at a cost of $22,000, funded through the township’s capital improvement program budget.
Vulakovich said these are not used for monitoring and writing traffic citations, but to help solve major road incidents, such as hit-and-runs, or motorists wanted for individual crimes.
He said the traffic camera systems are in place all over Allegheny County, including neighboring police departments.
The police departments are able work with each other to investigate or solve any major vehicle violations, he said.
In the case of only a partial or no plate-read at all, if the motorist continues to drive on Route 8, they can alert neighboring police departments to check their systems for video captures of the certain vehicle.
There was a hit-and-run at Duncan intersection a week after the system was installed last year and the system was able to provide a video capture of the car and its license plate, he said.
“Because of that video, the incident was solved. Had this system not been there, we wouldn’t have had this information,” Vulakovich said.
The video can capture license plate information in “complete darkness” and has 96 percent accuracy in obtaining the color of the vehicle, he said.
They would eventually like to add systems at the Route 8 intersections of Harts Run Road and Mt. Royal Boulevard, he said.
Video feeds are centralized and kept off-site in the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, he said. Video feeds are kept for 28 days.
Those intersections equipped with cameras cover all four directions. However, the license plate capture only works on vehicles once they are on Route 8, not on the roads traveling off the highway.
Vulakovich said this cost was already placed in the budget planning for the year. Maintenance and WiFi costs will be approximately $4,500 per year for all three intersections.
“It sounds very useful,” said Richard Dunlap, a council member for Hampton Township.
The Hampton Township Police Department was also approved at last week’s council meeting to purchase and replace four portable breath testing units for those being tested for alcohol levels.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.