Improving Street Lighting to Reduce Crime in Residential Areas

It is generally acceptable for anyone to assert that light actually scares away or deter potential offenders from committing a crime because of the fear of being recognized either by the security agents or the residents. Lighting makes a place safer by keeping the potential criminals at bay. This is mainly due to informal surveillance by the residents who always walk on the streets as well as spend on their front yards as a result of improved lighting at night. Generally, light enhances visibility thereby exposing things that would lead to crime when undetected (Richards, 2009).

The project on improving street lights was four year project initiated in 1992 and concluded in 1995 after achieving its main objectives.

The mission of this program was to improve lighting in the residential areas by installing street lights as well as replacing the dilapidated ones on every street in the city in an attempt to reduce crime rate in the areas.

The main goal of the program was to reduce crime rate in the residential areas by reducing opportunity and increasing risk through modification of the physical environment.

This program stipulated how police use the street lights under the help of the community to reduce the harm resulting from specific crime by preventing occurrence of such crime as well as quickly but swiftly responding to the overall incidents. This was addressed under community policing
Improvement of street lighting included removing growth from existing lighting poles, repairing of the broken bulbs as well as installing additional light poles and sodium lights. The regular checking and reports on the condition of the burner were left for the assigned residents. This also enhanced community participation in the project.

Street lighting reduces fear among the residents reduce crime rate as well as disorders. It is a positive and important measure in trying to improve the public safety compared to other measures which have proven to be more controversial. Uniform lighting in the streets create a feeling of security and to too much light or dark shadows should be avoided (Clerk, 2008).

As a result of street lighting, the offenders have been forced to indulge in new methods of committing crime. Their activities changes to other time of the day since because they try to evade the newly installed lights due to fear. These offenders may however get confused as the effects of the street lights diffuse into the neighborhoods. This is therefore one of the successes of this program.
Evaluation of effectiveness of street lighting in crime reduction is a bit complicated. This is because it must consider the effects of improved lighting on reduction of crime rate during daylight as well as in the darkness.

The effectiveness of this program was imminent in the remarkable reduction in crime related activities. For instance, by the end of four years, the robbery reduced by about seventy four percent  assaults were reduced to seventy five percent as well as reduction of calls for service by sixty five percent.

The program has been effective as aforementioned. However, there are important aspects that the program ought to have considered. First, street lighting neither encompasses technical details on how to handle specific crimes nor provide an investigative component in crime management. This needs to be incorporated through merging of street lights with closed circuit television (CCTV) to enhance surveillance of the streets.


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