Traditional traffic law enforcement is intensive and high-risk. Police departments rely exclusively on the presence of officers to observe violations and cite offenders, which is limiting. Officers cannot be everywhere. When officers observe a violation, it is not always possible to safely stop the violator because the officer may have to speed or run a red light to do so. This can endanger motorists and pedestrians as well as police officers. Plus, traffic stops in high-traffic areas can increase congestion.
Communities lack the resources necessary to allow police to patrol intersections as often as would be needed to ticket all motorists who run red lights and thereby make a significant impact on red light running. Red light cameras are designed to identify traffic law violators without depending on the presence of police officers, allowing communities to focus on other enforcement needs.