Lights off, but no more crime in Hertfordshire, says Police Authority report

16:36 03 April 2012

Street lights

Street lights

Archant

DESPITE lights being switched off at night to save cash in the county, a new police report has claimed crime has not increased.

But the report, delivered to the county council on March 30, only includes Welham Green despite the whole of Welwyn Hatfield being subject to the part-night lighting scheme.

In a statement which could enrage residents who have complained of crimes after dark and petitioners calling for the lights to be turned back on, Hertfordshire Police Authority has said the report, authored by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Supt Shirley Sargent, shows “there is no evidence to suggest crime levels have been affected” by the switch off.

Chairman of the council’s scrutiny committee, Sue Warman, said: “It is important that we listen to concerns expressed by the public, when they feel they are at risk of crime, which is why we asked the constabulary to provide this report.

“I am pleased that the analysis has shown that there is no correlation between crime levels and changes to street lighting and trust that this finding provides reassurance to the public.

She added: “In fact, Hertfordshire has seen an overall reduction in crime levels of over six per cent compared to the same period last year.

“However, we are never complacent and will continue to monitor trends, to ensure that crime continues to reduce and that communities feel safe.”

A table of results shows crimes in Welham Green possibly committed between midnight and 6am had fallen from 54 to 46 instances compared to last year’s figures.

Rob Smith, assistant director for transport management at the county council said: “This review by the police reinforces this evidence that where part night lighting has already been introduced, crime does not increase.”

Asked why the report only focussed on Welham Green, a spokeswoman for the Police Authority said it was because the scheme’s roll-out had been “gradual” and Welham Green was one of the first parts of Welwyn Hatfield affected.

Over the last few weeks hundreds have signed petitions demanding a re-think of the controversial austerity measure.

1 comment

  • There is evidence that burglaries can go down as criminals can't see where they're going, or their escape route (and torches may arouse suspicion) but what about the fear of crime? Who would walk in the dark not knowing who could be hiding? And that's people who can see in the dark, which humans can't do so well... so not surprisingly, few people venture out after dark unless they're in a car (or cab). Still, it's become a bit of a postcode lottery because some councils are cutting off the lights, while others are investing in new energy efficient lighting. Guess HCC went for the simple option with no thought of the future. Save a few quid today, but have nothing to show for it tomorrow. That is unless HCC is putting money aside to invest in new lights? If so, and we might one day get them back on (but with a fraction of the energy consumption) then I'll apologise. Until then I will continue to vent my anger at HCCs shortsightedness.

    Report this comment

    jonmorris

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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