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IMPACT OF STREET LIGHTING ON CRIME

NCJ Number
17487
Author(s)
R WRIGHT; M HEILWEIL; P PELLETIER; K DICKINSON
Date Published
1974
Length
204 pages
Annotation
THE CRIME-DETERRENT EFFECTS OF UPGRADING STREET LIGHTING FROM INCANDESCENT TO MERCURY AND SODIUM VAPOR WERE INVESTIGATED IN SELECTED HIGH-CRIME COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL AREAS IN KANSAS CITY, MO FROM 1970 TO 1973.
Abstract
THESE EFFECTS WERE ASSESSED BY COMPARING CHANGES IN RATES OF NIGHT STREET CRIME FOLLOWING THE UPGRADING PROGRAM TO CHANGES PRIOR TO THE UPGRADING PROGRAM. COMPARISONS WERE ALSO MADE TO CHANGES IN CRIME RATES IN LOCATIONS NOT AFFECTED BY IMPROVED STREET LIGHTING. RESULTS INDICATED THAT CRIMES OF VIOLENCE--ROBBERY AND ASSAULT--WERE SIGNIFICANTLY DETERRED, WHILE CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY WERE LARGELY UNAFFECTED. PRIOR TO RELIGHTING, CRIME RATES IN BLOCKS WITH COMMERICAL ACTIVITY WERE CONSIDERABLY HIGHER THAN IN BLOCKS WITH RESIDENTIAL ACTIVITY. FOLLOWING RELIGHTING, CRIME DECREASED IN THESE COMMERCIAL BLOCKS SOMEWHAT FASTER THAN IN THE RESIDENTIAL BLOCKS. DISPLACEMENT OF CRIME WAS ALSO INVESTIGATED. A SMALL PORTION OF THE ROBBERIES APPEARED TO RELOCATE INTO BLOCKS THAT WERE NOT AFFECTED BY THE UPGRADING PROGRAM. DISPLACEMENT OF ASSAULTS COULD NOT BE CONFIDENTLY DETERMINED BECAUSE INCREASES IN AREAS NOT AFFECTED BY RELIGHTING MAY HAVE BEEN DUE TO THE GENERAL CITYWIDE INCREASE IN THIS OFFENSE. RECOMMENDATIONS ARE MADE FOR STREET LIGHTING, BOTH FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION AND FOR CRIME DETERRENCE. STREET LIGHTING REPRESENTS A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF THE TOTAL NATIONAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND THUS A SMALL POTENTIAL FOR CONSERVATION, ALTHOUGH SOME AREAS OF SAVINGS ARE SUGGESTED. FOR CRIME DETERRENCE, RECOMMENDATIONS CALL FOR CONTINUAL UPGRADING OF STREET LIGHTING, AND ARE BUILT AROUND SPECIFIC SUGGESTIONS FOR CRIME TYPE, CRIME LOCATION, OTHER ANTICRIME MEASURES, AND ANTICIPATED DISPLACEMENT. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT) THE DOCUMENT CONTAINS 78 PAGES OF TECHNICAL APPENDIXES.