Is Photo Radar Affecting the 2010 Census in Arizona?


By now, almost everyone in Arizona knows that you must be served with a photo ticket for it to be legally valid. As such, the citizens have become accustomed to dodging process servers in order to avoid having to respond to tickets received in the mail. The main aspect of avoiding process service is to avoid answering your door for anyone you don’t know or who anyone you are not expecting to visit your home. Do this for long enough and you get out of your photo ticket Scott-free.

But this is also a census year, and those who do not respond by mail will be receiving in-person visits from census workers. The census response is very important to state and local governments, as each person counted is worth $25,000 federal and state dollars for their community over 10 years.

This is where Arizona may have shot itself in the foot with photo radar. As citizens have become accustomed to not answering their doors for unexpected visitors for fear of being served with a photo ticket, it is likely that many census workers will be unable to contact citizens who would have otherwise answered their door before Arizona’s photo enforcement experiment. With reported state photo program revenues reported to be around $35M, it means that if more than 1400 citizens go uncounted because they refuse to open their doors for fear of photo radar process service, the state will actually end up losing money.

KOLD reports that 30% of Arizonans have not sent in their forms and will be getting a visit from a census worker. There are hundreds of thousands of drivers who have not responded to their photo tickets who are weary of being served. It’s not hard to estimate that there is easily a population of more than 1400 who will go uncounted, since each address likely has several residents. Arizona needs every response it can get, as ABC15 has reported that Arizona’s response rate is “lackluster.”

So much for a program that was supposed to make money for the state, and all of this at the height of a recession when Arizona needs all of the funds it can get. An undercount could also lead to losing a seat in the leglislature. What was touted as a way for the state to make millions may end up costing Arizona dearly. These are all unintended consequences, and for that, we can all thank former governor Janet Napolitano.

36 Responses to Is Photo Radar Affecting the 2010 Census in Arizona?

  1. RPr says:

    AZ could lose a congressional seat if the there is an undercount

    • photoradarscam says:

      Good point. I updated the article to reflect that.

    • someone says:

      Such a shame to lose our false representation.

      Lets stop sending the suits to CONgress to avoid the common claim that since we have (false) representation that our taxation is justified.

      Boycott the census.

      • PersonalFreedom says:

        agree fully, as soon as my census came it went directly into the trash. taxation is theft, that ‘free’ money they talk about sure the hell ain’t free…its stolen from someone, dirty money. I hope a census worker comes by soon, i have my vid camera ready to record me asking them many personal questions. a lil side note… decades ago the US used the census to round up japanese americans to put them in internment camps. government is not good.

  2. Stacey says:

    I had a man come to my door last year and I didn’t answer it because I thought maybe it was a server for a ticket. I have never been flashed or received a ticket in the mail, but I figured I’d be safe and just not answer the door.

    Well, lo and behold it was a police officer who was dropping off a subpoena as I was a witness to a car accident two years before where a victim died. Since I didn’t answer the door, he had to come all the way back again with the paperwork.

    A waste of his time for sure and bad for families who need people to testify on their behalf.

    • Same thing here. Plain-clothed detectives were looking for someone who used to live at my address. The first time they came I didn’t open the door. The second time they came they (luckily) caught my wife off-guard and we found out what they after and they were able to move on. I hate to have wasted their time like that, but it’s not worth losing $200 to for me to open the door. If my wife hadn’t opened the door, I have to wonder what would have eventually happened… more wasted trips? Search warrants? A whole lot of wasted time, that’s for sure.

  3. Glyph says:

    One thing is for sure, this whole mess has made us think twice about opening our doors to strangers. I’ve never been flashed, but if I’m not expecting someone and I hear a knock, I NEVER open my front door.

    • someone says:

      Here, here!

      If photo radar ever contributed to safety, it was in the inadvertent form of training people to distrust strangers at the door and agents of the government in all flavors.

      • Stacey says:

        Well, once police officers start knocking on doors to deliver tickets for photo radar this problem will be much worse.

  4. alucard says:

    What would happen if the process server was claiming he was from the Census in order to get someone to open their door?

    • photoradarscam says:

      I bet this is something they are probably trying.

    • kandaris says:

      I’m not sure, but impersonating a federal officer is probably a felony. Can anybody confirm?

      • Brent says:

        From a law enforcement website regarding criminal impersonation of census workers:

        If you observe any suspicious or criminal activity in your neighborhood, call 911 right away. Likewise, if you’re visited by someone impersonating a census worker, call 911. Deputies will have the chance to intercept criminal activity in progress if it is reported quickly.

    • Carol says:

      Actually, process servers are forbidden by law from lying about who they are…so if they do claim to be a census worker, the water company guy or whatever then you can have the service invalidated. Of course, that requires you to actually appear!

  5. B says:

    Yes, maybe this state had a larger population of illegals than anyone was willing to admit, and that could be the primary cause for the “lackluster” returns.

    However, this is a great argument against the cameras – at least for 2010… What are the Census workers going to do? Yell, “We’re with the Census,” at the doors? What’s to stop process servers from doing the same thing?

    When the people stop trusting the government, it can’t properly function, at which point the government either gives up or throws down the gauntlet…

  6. just thinking says:

    I’m sure it gets worse..I can’t help thinking many of Hispanics, even though they are LEGAL, will still have enough distrust of government to not answer their doors and have themselves and all of their family members counted for fear some other problems later. Arizona will lose a lot of money on this one.

    • Carol says:

      Census workers will come to the home only if the form is not filled out. If they come to the home and you refuse to provide the count of those living in the home…or don’t answer the door….Cenus workers are allowed by law to inquire at your neighbors as to the number living in your home. Granted in some Hispanic neighborhoods the neighbors may not be willing to answer about you either, but they do make every effort to get an accurate count of the people living in each home. of course, if the neighbors don’t know about the 18 people living in hiding in your closet, well…..what can we do?

      Yes, it is very likely that Arizona’s count is not going to be as accurate as it should be, but then again, we’re going to start seeing a mass exodus of the illegals in the coming months so while the legit folks may not be counted, the state is definitely going to have more room! The big problem is getting the count right for representation in Washington and other federal funding that is based on population.

  7. Don says:

    Here is another reason to never open your door to strangers:

    HOUSTON—A man was killed and his family members beaten after three suspects barged into a north Houston home Saturday afternoon, police said.

    Investigators said one of the suspects pretended to be a census worker to gain entry into the house, located in the 400 block of Truman.

    Family members said the victim’s son opened the door for the suspects, believing they were with the census.

  8. Wilber says:

    Folks, Rule of Thumb says,
    Never open the door to the unknown or unannounced.
    Anyone you may know should have respect enough to
    let you know they wish to see you and yours.
    Require bonafides even from a cop.
    At his time the only views of Arizona one has are from the Phoenix airport. Sorry.
    Maybe next time stay a while..

  9. Dr Jett says:

    The Census asks too many personal questions and requests too much private information that has nothing to do with counting the number of citizens. When the census workers came by my residence 10 years ago, I told them that the additional information has nothing to do with counting citizens.
    This year I don’t answer the door if I don’t recognize the person because of the possibility of photo radar process servers.

    • B says:

      “Reasonable but prudent” is a piece of language that many have quoted while fighting the cameras. Why not apply that logic to filling out the census? What’s not reasonable and prudent about the 10 questions being asked?

      Can someone give me a “reasonable and prudent” piece of logic that supports the, “Don’t answer that Census question… it’s a bad idea”, kind of attitude? Seriously – isn’t ALL of that data (outside of the race question) already on public record?

      And the following don’t count:

      “It’s not explicitly in the Constitution.” – This inept government needs all the help/data/information they can get, doesn’t it?

      “Someday, the government is going to go out and kill all the people of race X and be able to find them with the Census data.” Just kidding, right?🙂

      On a more serious note – Again, I’m pretty sure nobody considered the Census issue when they were saying, “Hey yeah – photo radar is a GREAT idea!”

      • photoradarscam says:

        Is there any reason we need the billion dollar boondoggle called the census? Why can’t the IRS accomplish the same thing? They (should) already know who all of the taxpayers and dependents are.

        • Dr Jett says:

          Good Point! That sounds too intelligent for the government and wouldn’t require spending excessive money.

        • B says:

          On the IRS – Good question.

          Maybe they feel like they can get a more accurate count because tax cheats may be willing to answer the more innocuous census questions?

          That still doesn’t mean that the Census doesn’t serve a good purpose for the people, despite the questions surrounding it for some.

        • photoradarscam says:

          The data will never be perfect… even the 2010 census data will have errors. So at some point, can’t we just decide that a population count based on the number of tax payers and their dependants is adequate? Most likely, any errors or holes in this method would be relatively the same (proportionately) throughout the country, so those shortcomings could be ignored, I would think.

          What gets me is the BS commercials “we won’t know how may teachers/hospitals/schools/etc we need if you don’t fill out your census.” Really? They can’t figure out or estimate demand based on prior years’s operational data? I don’t believe it for a second. How stupid do they think we are? Are there really school administrators out there that are thinking, “our classrooms are packed and we had to turn away students this year, but next year when the census data comes out we’ll hire more teachers if the census data indicates we should?”

      • jimmy says:

        As stated on the census, only 3 of the questions are required (according to some law number, OMB-XXX). I only answered those three. Like you said, all the other information is public so why give it out again? If they want it that bad then I’ll leave it to the them to do the leg work.

  10. Carol says:

    If the state is hiring GOOD process servers, not answering your door is NOT going to prevent you from being served. Remember, they have your photo, lol. And process servers can and do sit in their car a couple of houses down and wait for you to leave the safety of your home. They then jump out of their car and serve you as you get into your car…or if you back out of your garage, they can/will follow you until you get out of your car and then serve you. I did process serving while in law school and let me tell you there are many ways to serve a reluctant Defendant. These PS will also have access to state records, something I seldom had because I worked for a divorce attorney (when it was a case of deadbeat dad with mom getting welfare I had access otherwise no go), so they can cross reference your name/address with state tax records to learn where you work. Imagine how fun being served at work will be.

    Thankfully, though this will be a moot issue soon as Arizona’s highway cams are coming down this summer! Yeah!

    • Alucard says:

      I have gotten unexpected knocks at my door before (about 7 pm), and noticed that they were photo radar process servers (I am able to observe them without being noticed_. I didn’t answer, but continued to observe. It is true they’ll head back to their car down the street, then wait a bit. However, after staying out of sight/mind for a few hours, I came out at midnight and found that the servers were gone!

      If one were to follow me, I’d notice it just like any other tail, and proceed to take a tour of Phoenix. I lost one such pursuer by driving the entire Loop 202. They’re perseverant, but not excessively so. I am guessing that a couple hours’ time, plus 4 gallons of gas, were spent by the server in the process of the “Loop 202 Tour”. I, on the other hand, got to know my Phoenix partner a bit better! 😉

      I did get zapped by one Redflex server, though, because I was (unfortunately) working in my yard at the time he showed up. I still won, however, because the appropriate paperwork was not filed with the Court in time.

  11. Roger says:

    Glad the cameras are coming down! Yea!

    Everyone should fill out the census form. The 10 questions are not invasive whatsoever. Only the truly paranoid could possibly feel otherwise. If you feel that the race question is invasive, then leave it blank. But fill out the form and send it in. This is critically important to all of us.

    • photoradarscam says:

      There is nothing they need to know other than how many people live at my address. Why would they need to know anything else?

    • Dr Jett says:

      I didn’t think of all of the questions that Jerry asked, but he explained why I didn’t answer extra invasive questions. A census is merely a count of the number of people in a given area; in this case within the USA.
      example: 1 hispanic male & 1 hispanic female
      This gives one additional feature; a racial mix because that seems important to the government although race shouldn’t matter either.

  12. Hello can I quote some of the insight found in this entry if I provide a link back to your site?

  13. The Census is wasting your money

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