Improving Public Lighting to Reduce Crime in Residential Areas
Improved public lighting(CLASSIC) is widely thought to be an effective means of preventing crime, second in importance only to increased police presence. Indeed, residents in crime-ridden neighborhoods often demand that the lighting is improved, and recent research generally bears out their expectation that improved lighting does reduce crime.
This guide is written to help community policing officers decide whether improved lighting is an appropriate response to a crime or disorder problem that might be confronting a particular neighborhood or community. It assumes that a detailed problem analysis has been conducted and that police, community and business leaders, and other stakeholders are exploring ameliorative responses, particularly improved public lighting. It explains why better public lighting can help reduce fear, crime, and disorder, and summarizes the literature on the effectiveness of better lighting. It discusses the considerations that should be weighed in pursuing this approach, suggests questions that should be asked, and lists the steps that should be followed in improving lighting. Finally, it suggests measures that can be used to assess the effectiveness of the lighting solutions that have been implemented.
Improved public lighting is much less controversial than some other responses to street crime discussed in this series of problem-oriented policing guides, including street closures and video surveillance. Even so, it does have some potential costs (apart from monetary costs) and, as will be discussed elsewhere in the guide, its relationship to crime is not as straightforward as is usually assumed.
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