No surge in crime when streetlights go out

Southend Standard: Streetlights out in Basildon Streetlights out in Basildon

FEARS the big street light switch-off would increase crime across south Essex have not been borne out by figures obtained by the Echo.

The number of reported crimes in Basildon, Rochford, and Castle Point has largely stayed the same since the controversial switch-off, between midnight and 5am.

The lights went off inRochford and Castle Point in January, and in Basildon in February, sparking outrage from concerned residents.

But the figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, show reported crime figures have in fact gone down.

Nick Alston, Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, has given the numbers a cautious welcome.

He said: “Am I surprised by the figures? No. But do I think there is enough evidence on the table yet? No.

“I’m encouraged by these figures, but we need to remember they are only quarterly statistics.

We need to look at the bigger picture before making any final conclusions.

“From a personal point of view, I’m happy with the lights going out where I live as it means less light pollution, but I can totally understand why people are troubled by it.

“I understand Basildon is a town that is different to other areas in Essex, and officers have raised concerns about the effect the switch-off could have on the town.”

The figures show in the south of the county there were 148 reported crimes in December.

But since the switch-off programme started, crime fell to 105 incidents in March, before rising slightly to 118 in April.

There was a backlash from residents and an opposition councillor when the Tory administration at County Hall adopted its programme of switch-offs – which cost £6million with the installation of new switches, but would save £1million a year.

Residents contacted the Echo, saying crime was rising, with fears Basildon would be turned into a crime hot spot.

Six estates – Five Links, Felmores, Langdon Hills, Chalvedon, Pitsea 123 and Craylands were given a reprieve while County Hall looked at whether crime had increased, but it is not known if these figures will affect that.

David Harrison, Ukip councillor for Wickford Park, handed in a petition signed by hundreds of people on the Wick estate, demanding the lights are turned back on.

He said: “People who are paying their council tax are seeing County Hall spending money on the likes of pensions and expensive cabinet members, but they should listen to the people.

“There are fears on the Wick estate as it has so many alleyways and back roads.”

Alf Papworth, 80, of Ashdown Crescent, Hadleigh, is the co-ordinator of the local neighbourhood watch and said he feared the amount of crime would increase.

He said: “I’m surprised about the figures because it is a stupid policy to turn the lights off and I’ve heard that officers have been concerned about crime going up in places.

Comments (17)

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7:26am Mon 2 Jun 14

Thorp55 says...

Have they got any figures regarding how many people have fallen over since the lights went out? Also the fear factor as you walk up a dark road especially near bushes, can't be measured.
Have they got any figures regarding how many people have fallen over since the lights went out? Also the fear factor as you walk up a dark road especially near bushes, can't be measured. Thorp55
  • Score: 17

8:02am Mon 2 Jun 14

Motherlode says...

Thorp55 wrote:
Have they got any figures regarding how many people have fallen over since the lights went out? Also the fear factor as you walk up a dark road especially near bushes, can't be measured.
Not sure why you think it's the responsibility of the local council to stop adults being scared of walking in the dark!
If your local area is really that unsafe, you have bigger problems than street lights.
[quote][p][bold]Thorp55[/bold] wrote: Have they got any figures regarding how many people have fallen over since the lights went out? Also the fear factor as you walk up a dark road especially near bushes, can't be measured.[/p][/quote]Not sure why you think it's the responsibility of the local council to stop adults being scared of walking in the dark! If your local area is really that unsafe, you have bigger problems than street lights. Motherlode
  • Score: -9

9:56am Mon 2 Jun 14

Chris Flunk says...

At last, some facts and figures rather than the usual speculation and emotional conjecture.
At last, some facts and figures rather than the usual speculation and emotional conjecture. Chris Flunk
  • Score: -7

10:20am Mon 2 Jun 14

Jack222 says...

It's self evident crime would not go up. The vast majority of criminals actually prefer empty homes - daylight hours if you like - when people are at work. And think of the money we save!
It's self evident crime would not go up. The vast majority of criminals actually prefer empty homes - daylight hours if you like - when people are at work. And think of the money we save! Jack222
  • Score: -14

11:41am Mon 2 Jun 14

michael155 says...

People are too scared to leave their house after midnight so this is making crime rates look better where as there are just less people out that could possibly get attacked etc because they are scared that something will happen!
People are too scared to leave their house after midnight so this is making crime rates look better where as there are just less people out that could possibly get attacked etc because they are scared that something will happen! michael155
  • Score: 7

11:59am Mon 2 Jun 14

Abington86 says...

“I understand Basildon is a town that is different to other areas in Essex, and officers have raised concerns about the effect the switch-off could have on the town'

What exactly does our Police Commissioner mean by this?
“I understand Basildon is a town that is different to other areas in Essex, and officers have raised concerns about the effect the switch-off could have on the town' What exactly does our Police Commissioner mean by this? Abington86
  • Score: 12

12:14pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Qwerty1982 says...

It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell.
It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out.
It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell. It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out. Qwerty1982
  • Score: 9

2:24pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

If crime goes down, without the lights, they may as well never be switched on.
If crime goes down, without the lights, they may as well never be switched on. Nowthatsworthknowing
  • Score: 1

3:24pm Mon 2 Jun 14

pendulum says...

What idiot spends £6 million for a £1 million annual return when LED streetlights are just getting popular? The money should have been invested in low energy LED streetlights that can run all night and STILL save money on electric!
What idiot spends £6 million for a £1 million annual return when LED streetlights are just getting popular? The money should have been invested in low energy LED streetlights that can run all night and STILL save money on electric! pendulum
  • Score: 7

6:09pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Howard Cháse says...

pendulum wrote:
What idiot spends £6 million for a £1 million annual return when LED streetlights are just getting popular? The money should have been invested in low energy LED streetlights that can run all night and STILL save money on electric!
Check if anyone on the County Council has any interests in the firm that they employed to carry out the works necessary to enable them to do this.
[quote][p][bold]pendulum[/bold] wrote: What idiot spends £6 million for a £1 million annual return when LED streetlights are just getting popular? The money should have been invested in low energy LED streetlights that can run all night and STILL save money on electric![/p][/quote]Check if anyone on the County Council has any interests in the firm that they employed to carry out the works necessary to enable them to do this. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 9

10:51pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Lisasays says...

Now I'm a little confused, some areas of basildon excluded from part night lighting because they were deemed crime hot spots and Brentwood changed its mind because of the increase in crime.
Now I'm a little confused, some areas of basildon excluded from part night lighting because they were deemed crime hot spots and Brentwood changed its mind because of the increase in crime. Lisasays
  • Score: 13

11:25pm Mon 2 Jun 14

woolstone says...

The figures will probably go up in the Summer when people leave windows open and streetlights are out. Still think it is unpleasant walking home with no streetlights on, potholes are the biggest problem.
The figures will probably go up in the Summer when people leave windows open and streetlights are out. Still think it is unpleasant walking home with no streetlights on, potholes are the biggest problem. woolstone
  • Score: 6

7:53am Tue 3 Jun 14

John Right says...

Qwerty1982 wrote:
It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell.
It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out.
Who would be out after midnight ? unless they are up to no good ?
[quote][p][bold]Qwerty1982[/bold] wrote: It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell. It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out.[/p][/quote]Who would be out after midnight ? unless they are up to no good ? John Right
  • Score: 0

10:03am Tue 3 Jun 14

railfan235 says...

Howard Cháse wrote:
pendulum wrote:
What idiot spends £6 million for a £1 million annual return when LED streetlights are just getting popular? The money should have been invested in low energy LED streetlights that can run all night and STILL save money on electric!
Check if anyone on the County Council has any interests in the firm that they employed to carry out the works necessary to enable them to do this.
yes i have emailed essex county counril serverel times all i got is some blond bimbo saysing they dont want to use led lighting because there not suffent enought i replied back to her in a email led are suffcent there are used in traffic lights train signals and half of brentwood romford surrey and sussex county councils use them i also said its no good wasting 6million a year to keep them of for a 1million pount rreturn when there off i also said you spend more money at night turning them on at 8pm and then again at 5 am so your investment return is cut in half because condesent lighting uses 415 volts to power up over 20 mins..

i never got a reply back
[quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pendulum[/bold] wrote: What idiot spends £6 million for a £1 million annual return when LED streetlights are just getting popular? The money should have been invested in low energy LED streetlights that can run all night and STILL save money on electric![/p][/quote]Check if anyone on the County Council has any interests in the firm that they employed to carry out the works necessary to enable them to do this.[/p][/quote]yes i have emailed essex county counril serverel times all i got is some blond bimbo saysing they dont want to use led lighting because there not suffent enought i replied back to her in a email led are suffcent there are used in traffic lights train signals and half of brentwood romford surrey and sussex county councils use them i also said its no good wasting 6million a year to keep them of for a 1million pount rreturn when there off i also said you spend more money at night turning them on at 8pm and then again at 5 am so your investment return is cut in half because condesent lighting uses 415 volts to power up over 20 mins.. i never got a reply back railfan235
  • Score: 0

11:21am Tue 3 Jun 14

Howardthegreat says...

Jack222 wrote:
It's self evident crime would not go up. The vast majority of criminals actually prefer empty homes - daylight hours if you like - when people are at work. And think of the money we save!
We as people dont save no money! The council save money! We get nothing from this, you conservative voting moron
[quote][p][bold]Jack222[/bold] wrote: It's self evident crime would not go up. The vast majority of criminals actually prefer empty homes - daylight hours if you like - when people are at work. And think of the money we save![/p][/quote]We as people dont save no money! The council save money! We get nothing from this, you conservative voting moron Howardthegreat
  • Score: -2

11:24am Tue 3 Jun 14

Howardthegreat says...

John Right wrote:
Qwerty1982 wrote:
It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell.
It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out.
Who would be out after midnight ? unless they are up to no good ?
You idiot! We dont all work 9-5 jobs I finish work near midnight and Id like to go for a midnight run but I cant because theres no light!!!
[quote][p][bold]John Right[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Qwerty1982[/bold] wrote: It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell. It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out.[/p][/quote]Who would be out after midnight ? unless they are up to no good ?[/p][/quote]You idiot! We dont all work 9-5 jobs I finish work near midnight and Id like to go for a midnight run but I cant because theres no light!!! Howardthegreat
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Qwerty1982 says...

John Right wrote:
Qwerty1982 wrote:
It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell.
It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out.
Who would be out after midnight ? unless they are up to no good ?
How about people that have been out for the evening? Or people that have been working? What a stupid comment.
[quote][p][bold]John Right[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Qwerty1982[/bold] wrote: It's not just about crime rates, it's about how safe the public feel aswell. It can be incredibly frightening for people even parking their car, for example, then having to walk to their house if they don't live directly on the road. I for one worry about my mum, gf, sister just walking the 100 yards from the road to house when the lights are out.[/p][/quote]Who would be out after midnight ? unless they are up to no good ?[/p][/quote]How about people that have been out for the evening? Or people that have been working? What a stupid comment. Qwerty1982
  • Score: 3

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