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Vandalized city traffic camera cables repaired

  • COURTESY PHOTO
    A vandal or vandals cut a fiber optic cable that connects 35 raffic cameras to the city's traffic center.
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Sixty-two city traffic cameras went back online after the cables that support them were knocked offline by vandals several weeks ago, city officials said Thursday.

Fiber optic cables were severed at a secured site near Middle Street on Dec. 26 in an apparent attempted theft of copper wiring, although copper was not present in the cables, the city said. 

The repair cost the about $10,000. City officials also put up "no copper" and "fiber optic cable" signs to discourage future vandals and thieves.

The repairs were finished at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Because of the damage, operators at the city’s traffic management center were unable to alter traffic signals to improve the flow of traffic during rush-hour in affected areas including Kaneohe and Pearl City, the city said. The Honolulu Police Department also monitors the cameras.

Additionally, drivers who use the city’s official website or GoAkamai.org to view traffic conditions in those areas found dark screens; frozen, outdated images; or "Image Temporarily Unavailable" messages. 

The incident was the second involving traffic cameras in recent months. In November, 46 traffic cameras were damaged in a similar fashion. 

"This must stop," Mayor Kirk Caldwell said, in a release. "Thieves are trying to steal copper wiring but end up with nothing. They’ve cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, made rush hour traffic worse by cutting the visual feeds traffic engineers need, and blocked the public and first responders’ access to real time traffic information."

Caldwell urged anyone with information on the vandals to call police or Crimestoppers.

In addition to repairing the cables, "no copper" and "fiber-optic cable" signs are being put in place to make it as clear as possible to potential thieves that there is nothing of value for them to steal.

The city’s traffic cameras can be viewed by the public at http://www1.honolulu.gov/cameras/traffic.htm, on ‘Olelo Traffic, and on local broadcast news programs. 

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