Crescent City resident Dennis Keep enjoys a good evening walk, although he’s noticing an increasing number of flickering – or completely dark - streetlights.
Keep said he likes his nightly jaunts, but wants his route to be safe and well-lit. “I’ve reported this before and nothing has happened. Nothing,” Keep said.
He said he’s found 17 dead streetlights so far. Other residents are echoing Keep’s concerns.
Crescent City Engineer Jon Olson said local residents have been reporting dark streetlights on almost a daily basis now. Okay, so why haven’t they been repaired?
It’s a bit complicated, said Olson. For one thing, the Crescent City Department of Public Works has only two technicians dealing with streetlights, in addition to their other electrical and mechanical tasks.
And Public Works has budgetary constraints, said Olson, which limit the money available for streetlight repairs. Depending on the project, those repairs can cost upwards of a couple hundred dollars per light.
So it might take up to three months for the city to make the repairs, said Olson. Although, he added, that shouldn’t deter residents from reporting failed lights. When a complaint is filed, it’s entered into a workorder database and addressed on a first-come, first-served basis.
That said, the city is going beyond simply making the repairs, said Olson. On a case by case basis, the technicians have been replacing the dead lights with more-efficient LEDs.
Meantime, should residents be concerned with some semi-dark streets? Said Crescent City Police Sgt. Edward Wilson, “We describe that crimes occur at the intersection of perpetrator, victim and opportunity. The accepted thinking is that streetlights affect the opportunity side of it.
“A determined criminal will attempt crimes wherever they see fit. Good lighting is only part of the solution.”
He said good lighting may not be the deterrent it might seem to be. While streetlights do help officers as they patrol, they help criminals see better, too, and they don’t guarantee safety.
In fact, a Washington Post article reported that working streetlights did not statistically decrease crime rates in most cases.
Although well-lit areas did make residents feel safer.