MIAMI
02/20/2013 04:37 pm ET

Hialeah Red Light Cameras Installed To Fight Robberies, Police Say

Hialeah officials are hoping to stem a rise in crime with red light cameras -- but not everyone's happy about it.

Police in Miami-Dade County's second-largest municipality have already installed new red light cameras at eight intersections in an effort to stop robberies, according to the Associated Press.

The Miami Herald reports Hialeah has been plagued by a rash of robberies in the last month, including an incident at a Farm Stores station during which a clerk was threatened with a screwdriver, and a car crash-and-dash at a Radio Shack. The new cameras will alert police when they captures stolen tags and drivers with bench warrants.

"These are not cameras to fine the drivers. These cameras have become a powerful tool to fight crime," Hialeah police Lt. Joe de Jesús told the Herald. The AP reports the city already captured the license plates of 14,790 vehicles belonging to drivers with suspended licenses in the first two weeks.

But Carolina González, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, told CBS Miami that if Hialeah plans to keep a database with information on which cars drive through the city, "they should show clear regulations about who will have access to it, what would be its use and how long the information is going to be stored... This is not clear. It is insulting to place cameras that have no benefit whatsoever nor reduce crime, making Hialeah residents believe that they do work. They are simply giving the impression that they are doing something about it."

The ACLE says laws that allow for red light cameras, such as Florida's, "present major threats to due process and privacy rights."

Hialeah's cameras have been installed just as a measure that would ban them outright narrowly sailed through a committee in the Florida House of Representatives on Thursday.

Sponsor Daphne Campbell's (D-Miami) husband has been ticketed five times for running red lights on camera since 2010, according to a Herald report.

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