Crimes down during street lights switch-off

A STREET-lighting trial has revealed a fall in crime during the hours the lights have been switched off. A pilot scheme carried out in Uttlesford over the past eighteen months involved switching off most of the street lights in residential areas for aroun

A STREET-lighting trial has revealed a fall in crime during the hours the lights have been switched off.

A pilot scheme carried out in Uttlesford over the past eighteen months involved switching off most of the street lights in residential areas for around five hours at night, between midnight and 5am.

The success of the trial means that the part-night street lighting scheme could be made a permanent fixture. The results will be considered by Essex County Council (ECC) before a decision is made.

Cabinet member for highways and transportation, Cllr Norman Hume, said: "We face significant challenges in meeting the ever increasing costs of providing all-night street lighting across Essex and also in meeting the quality of life expectations of our residents.


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"During the trials I have been in contact with many residents expressing their support for part-night street lighting but also others who have raised concerns.

"I have therefore asked the council's Scrutiny Board to look into all the facts of the matter.

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"I believe that this is most appropriate course of action in order to ensure that the evidence collected during the trials can be considered in its entirety and closely scrutinised prior to a decision being taken on the way forward."

A pilot scheme was carried out in Uttlesford and Maldon and could now be rolled out across the whole of Essex. ECC is hoping to save 30 per cent of the electricity cost of street lighting and reduce carbon emissions.

Evidence was gathered via a Joint Monitoring Group consisting of representatives from ECC and district councils, police, fire, and ambulance services.

Their reports show that crime has fallen and there have been no police reported traffic accidents during the times when the lights were switched off.

Exceptions were made for locations such as town centres or thoroughfares, key road junctions and road accident sites where streetlights remained on all night.

Crime statistics provided by Essex Police show the total recorded offences in Uttlesford have dropped by 1.9 per cent since part-night lighting started with offences occurring between 11.30pm and 5:30am dropping by 12.6 per cent.

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