CHICAGO (CBS) — Opponents of Chicago’s red light cameras have a new ally – Mayoral Challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. WBBM’s Nancy Harty reports he’s calling for them to stop issuing tickets.

Garcia says the cameras appear to be more about making money for the city than improving safety. The Cook County commissioner cites a Tribune report that found the cameras reduced crashes by 15 percent, not the 47 percent stated by the Emanuel administration and actually increased rear-end crashes.

“After nearly four years in office, this administration has done nothing to stop this runaway program,” he said.

Garcia said City Hall is blind to the red light camera problems because of the money they bring in. Since 2002, they’ve generated 500 million dollars in tickets.

He wants tickets halted until an independent study shows they’re improving safety and to take a look at speed cameras too.

“I think that they’re there to pick people’s pockets to a great degree,” Garcia said. “I think those should be looked at as well.”

Emanuel campaign spokesman Steve Mayberry responded in a statement saying, “Before Commissioner Garcia can attack a program that is critical to public safety and has helped reduce the number of serious crashes that result in injury or death, he needs to explain his own questionable record on red light cameras. Commissioner Garcia must explain to the public why he accepted a $1,500 donation from Safespeed, a red light camera operator company, on March 10, 2014 and voted to approve their installation of a red light camera the very next day. In fact, Mr. Garcia’s tie-breaking vote ensured the company’s success. With all of the tough decisions we as a city must face in the next four years, the voters deserve better from a candidate for mayor.”

The Garcia campaign issued a statement response to Mayberry saying,”Commissioner Garcia has built his public career on listening to people — not ignoring them. He believes strongly local people know what is best for their neighborhoods. In this case, the camera was requested by River Forest. They also chose the vendor to be used. Both of those actions took place in 2013. Commissioner Garcia simply acted responsibly in listening to one of the municipalities covered by Cook County and ratifying their actions a full year later,” said campaign spokeswoman Monica Trevino.

“Commissioner Garcia called for an investigation into the effectiveness of the red light camera program. For Mayor Emanuel to respond by unleashing his paid henchman is typical of his style of leadership. We still believe Mayor Emanuel owes Chicago drivers a thoughtful response to our red light camera proposal as soon as he returns from vacation. Until that time, the lights remain on and nobody is home.”