After installing 3,500 new public lights in London's Wandsworth borough in the mid-1980s as part of its overall crime reduction program, researchers at the University of Southampton decided to compare the crimes reported before and after the upgrade. Although the increased lighting for decades has become a major component of urban crime prevention, the researchers found that “there is no evidence to support the hypothesis of improving public lighting to reduce reporting crimes”.
American cities tried similar experiments during the same period, and the results were mixed. According to a systematic review of urban lighting experiments in the United States in 2007, the increase in public lighting in Indianapolis, Harrisburg, New Orleans, and Portland, Oregon is inconsistent with the decline in crime rates in affected areas, but in Milwaukee, Atlanta. This is true. However, even in the “effective” American cities, they seem to be inconsistent: although Fort Worth saw a reduction in all types of crime, Kansas City only reduced in terms of violent crime.
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