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Mid-City CAN Blog

City Heights Town Council uses lights to increase safety

map of City Heights lightsThe City Heights Town Council has been working to make public spaces safer and more accessible.

It has installed more than 50 solar-powered, motion-activated lights in a little more than two months, according to Guy N. Mock, City Heights Town Council Co-Chair. The group used mapping, police input, community outreach and surveys to determine where residents needed the lights the most and started installing the lights around November.

Community members had many reasons for needing more light.

"We got everything from being accosted and assaulted at night, coming home from work, to people stealing the tools out of vehicles and just about everything in between," Mock said. "Things like unsafe walking conditions, [including] one gentleman that was in his 80s or 90s had trip hazards in front of his house."

To address these issues, Town Council bought lights that were green and flexible.

 

"We decided on solar power motion sensing lights with LED lights in them because of the low energy use, and the fact that it's a standalone product we can install it anywhere as long as we can get the solar panel in the southern direction to gather light to charge the system," Mock said.

And the group did install them in some unusual locations.

"We installed quite a few in alleys and backyards where crime was an issue," said Jeanette Neeley, office and community organizer with Town Council and Mid-City CAN Coordinating Council member. "Some of them are installed on tree stumps. Some of them are installed on signs leading down into a canyon. Some of them are installed on a post sticking up in an alley."

The Town Council undertook the project because, "safety and the perception of safety were of huge concern and interest here," Neeley said.

A key difference between this and previous efforts to increase street lighting in City Heights is that renters as well as homeowners received lights, Mock said. And despite having a relatively small grant from Price Charities to buy, install and check on the lights, Town Council came in under budget. It anticipates being able to install about a dozen more lights with the money it saved.

One cost saving measure was hiring two City Heights residents to work on the project, one to install and another to check the installation.

And Neeley checked on some of the installations herself and heard about the difference they made firsthand.

"Sometimes we would talk to the neighbors and we would hear the great stories," Neeley said. "They would say, 'You have no idea how much safer I feel."

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