Filner said the cameras were "history," the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
The cameras have been in place since 1998. In the past five years, 78,113 tickets have been issued to drivers photographed by the cameras running red traffic lights.
Violators get a $490 ticket in the mail.
In announcing the city's 21 cameras would be darkened, Filner said public hostility to their use "bred more disrespect for the law than respect for the law," U-T San Diego reported.
Kathleen Ferrier, policy manager with Walk San Diego, said studies had shown the cameras improved traffic safety. However, the evidence is mixed about whether the cameras actually cause drivers to drive more cautiously, the Times said.
Bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups protested the mayor's decision. An estimated 97 percent of drivers who received tickets for red-light violations never received a second ticket, said Kevin C. Wood, chair of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.
Filner promised during his campaign last fall to end the red-light program.
Los Angeles unplugged its cameras in 2011.