One speed camera in Bloor West Village was spray painted on 31 different occasions over the span of just a few months last year.

Another located near an elementary school in Toronto’s east end was tipped over a total of 19 times, temporarily knocking it out of service for multiple days on at least three of those occasions.

A third camera, in Scarborough’s Highland Creek neighbourhood, was moved by vandals despite weighing hundreds of pounds. It was out of service for eight days as a result.

These are just some of the 555 incidents of speed camera vandalism reported between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023 and detailed in documents obtained by through a freedom of information request.

The documents show that three years after Toronto began its automated speed camera enforcement program, the devices continue to be regularly targeted by disgruntled drivers, complicating the city’s efforts to crack down on speeding and reduce pedestrian fatalities as part of its Vision Zero program.

“I find it infuriating and soul killing that people would do this,” Jess Spieker, of Friends and Family For Safe Streets, told upon learning of the extent of the vandalism. “I think it says in particular a lot about the toxicity of car culture. There's obviously a subset of people who drive cars who believe that their slight convenience is infinitely more important than the life of anyone outside of their car.”

The documents obtained by CP24 show that Toronto’s automated speed enforcement cameras were out of service for a total of 279 days due to vandalism over the course of a year.

Many of the incidents were minor in nature – there were 222 times that a speed camera was spray painted, the vast majority of which didn’t result in the loss of any service time.

But there were 94 instances in which speed cameras were moved and another 134 in which they were tipped over.

The documents also reveal a pattern of vandalism, with some of the cameras being repeatedly targeted.

One camera on St. Clair Avenue west of Marilyn Crescent in Toronto’s east end, for example, was tipped over on three consecutive days in October of last year. The final incident knocked it out of service for six days. One day after it was reinstalled and turned back on, it was tipped over again.

Meanwhile, another camera positioned outside of Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School was vandalized on 32 separate occasions, making it the city’s most targeted camera by far.

It was spray painted on 10 separate days just in August of last year and on one day in July there were actually two separate reports for vandalism involving the same camera.

Spieker, who sustained life-altering injuries after being hit by a SUV while biking along Bathurst Street in 2015, told that the frequency of the vandalism, particularly when it comes to cameras being rendered inoperable, is disheartening given that most of the cameras are located near schools.

The cameras, she said, save lives.

“I would say to the people who are doing this vandalism that I wish I could just shake them and express how awful it is when someone you love is killed,” she said. “When someone you love is killed you have to go to the hospital and identify the remains, you get back their possessions in a paper bag, you get back the blood stained clothing and have to figure out what to do with it. If you have children you have to help them grieve while trying not to fall apart. Or if you survive like me, like my whole life was blown up. Had there been a speed camera on Bathurst the day I was struck maybe that would have slowed down the driver who hit me and she might have actually had time to look around. Maybe I would have had a normal day.”



Toronto currently has 75 automated speed cameras, which it rotates every three to six months in order to help address safety concerns in a higher number of neighbourhoods.

In a statement provided to CP24, City of Toronto spokesperson Hakeem Muhammad noted that the “vandalism, theft and destruction of speed cameras is a well-documented phenomenon in many jurisdictions around the world” and Toronto is no exception.

Muhammad said that Toronto’s cameras are coated with a substance that allows the vendor who is responsible for their upkeep “to easily remove graffiti or spray paint,” as well as alarms which alert the vendor when they are tipped over or moved.

He said that the city “is also exploring other solutions with the vendor to reduce instances of vandalism, such as pole mounting and remote monitoring.”

“The benefits of speed cameras far outweigh the petty crime,” Muhammad wrote.



The documents obtained by CP24 showed that speed cameras in 15 different locations were vandalized at least 10 times during the period of time covered.

Dozens of other locations, meanwhile, had cameras that were targeted multiple times.

The city says that while it did see an uptick in instances of reported vandalism in the first six months of this year compared to the same time period in 2022, that came with 25 additional cameras on the roads.

There is also at least one piece of good news.

The city doesn’t actually have to cover the cost of repairing the cameras, as its contract with the company responsible for their operation includes upkeep.

“The city should be going all in (on speed cameras) because allowing your residents to be violently killed is just poor leadership,” Spieker said. “If we had the same per capita amount of the cameras as New York City we would have almost 700 on our streets.”