Just days after announcing the city of New Orleans would be adding more than 50 new traffic cameras throughout the area, Mayor Mitch Landrieu proposed a new strategy designed to cut down on speeders and save the city money.
“Instead of having the cameras on traffic lights, I now propose that New Orleans outfit the city’s ever-growing panhandler population with speed detectors,” Landrieu said. “This city has a someone on every corner asking for change, so why not use our resources in the best way possible? It’s almost too brilliant.”
Dubbed “Pennies for Perps,” Landrieu’s plan would equip panhandlers along the city’s busiest streets with speed radars. When a driver is caught speeding, the detector would flash, alerting the panhandler who then would take down the vehicle’s license plate number.
Those caught speeding would be ticketed by the New Orleans Police Department and, in return, the panhandlers would be compensated with whatever change is in the pockets of the NOPD officer on duty at the time.
“Who doesn’t speed past panhandlers? This plan will save millions by eliminating the need for more traffic cameras and the city will pay less than $1 per speeding violation,” Landrieu said.
Analysts estimate almost $3 million would be added to the city’s budget by canceling Landrieu’s original traffic camera idea, with additional funds coming in as more speeders are caught through this new plan.
Though some officials have suggested directing the money toward legal costs incurred from fighting to remove racist statues, the mayor believes earmarking the surplus funds to better train meter maids, who mistakenly issue over 8,900 bogus parking tickets every year, would help the city more long-term.
“The number of tickets our meter maids could be issuing isn’t even close to what they could be, even with the erroneous ones added in of which at least some people will be duped into paying,” Landrieu said.
“Almost 400,000 people live in New Orleans and over 9.5 million visit our city annually. If we train our meter maids better, add a few hundred more parking meters, and extend the fineable times than we did earlier in the year, we could potentially see a huge return on investment.”