MAYBE THE PERPETRATORS and the pursuers need constant reminders, but red-light runners seem to be back with a vengeance, and the police crackdown seems less active than last month. All we know is that motorists and pedestrians alike are back on the lines with more and more harrowing tales of close-call strafings by cars blowing through the red at high speeds. Our spot checks -- and the spots are almost anywhere downtown during the day -- confirm this renewed anxiety. Just step off that curb the moment it says "Walk," and you're in danger of being clipped by a motorist gunning through a brightly shining stoplight.

Is the moral of these stories simply that people will do whatever they want if they can get away with it? Or may we come to a slightly less disturbing conclusion that maybe people fail to weigh the very real possibilities that they may injure and even kill other people who are doing nothing other than obeying the traffic laws?

As long as we're tossing around all these great psychological diagnoses, here's one that may explain next to nothing but that could stand a mention anyway: The city has so many malfunctioning lights that seem to hang red forever that motorists are losing respect for the signals. Many of these longtime failures are due to the prehistoric signal system in this city; they just don't make parts like that anymore. Still, where are the police officers or crossing guards or warning signs that could help traffic move safely through these intersections?

The city is installing a new signal system, and we say more power to it. We hope it comes complete with video cameras to catch red-light runners. In the meantime, this is a job for the police.