Smile! You may be on DOT camera

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The city has installed a new red-light camera on Smith Street — but no one knows if it’s real or a decoy, and the Department of Transportation certainly isn’t saying.

The “camera” is one of 300 such boxes on city streetcorners — 200 of which are just decoys that don’t actually take a picture of cars illegally going through the red light.

Most Smith Street residents and business owners think this one’s fake, too.

“It’s not doing anything, said Phil Marcano of Phil’s Sports Wear. “It’s a phony camera.”

At the restaurant next door, a worker agreed.

“I don’t think it works,” said Charles Costa. “So people pass the red lights.”

But real or not, the Department of Transportation says the camera will be a deterrent because drivers won’t know if they’re being photographed as they go through a red light. The safest way to avoid a ticket, after all, is to stop at the red.

“The goal is to encourage people to comply with the lights,” said Chris Gilbride, assistant press secretary for the NYC DOT.

If indeed the camera is real, neighbors would be pleased.

“The traffic is out of control,” said Kevin Erickson, a resident of Carroll Gardens. “A camera could make a difference.”

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