Meridian Star


January 26, 2014

Editorial: Adding lights to high-crime areas makes sense

MERIDIAN — The city of Meridian and Mississippi Power are partnering to shed light on dark areas of the city.

At the request of Mayor Percy Bland and the Meridian City Council, the power company has added more than 50 new street lights.

In addition, Mississippi Power has inspected each of the 6,600 street lights in Meridian and "changed out every bulb, every photocell," said Eddie Kelly, Meridian division manager for Mississippi Power.

The power company owns the poles and lights and the city pays Mississippi Power for their use. The cost of paying for the street lights from Nov. 22 through Dec. 26, 2013 was nearly $80,000.

"A well-lit city is going to be a safer city and a better city," Bland said. "That's one of the costs of having a clean, well-lit, safe city."

We agree. The money is well spent.

Bland said the push to add more street lights and ensure that those already in place are working properly is part of the city's effort to reduce crime.

According to a report by the Community Oriented Police Services division of the U.S. Department of Justice titled "Improving Street Lighting to Reduce Crime in Residential Areas" by Ronald V. Clarke, adding street lighting can reduce crimes not only at night but during the day as well.

According to the report, installation of new lighting in poor lit areas indicates that local officials and police are serious about crime; increases community pride and the willingness to report criminals and aids in the arrest of those committing crimes, which all reduce crime both day and night.

At night, improved lighting discourages criminals from committing crimes and encourages residents to spend more time outside where they can better keep an eye on what is happening in their community, according to the report.

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