How lit up is your neighbourhood? (and not by gunfire)

How much crime takes place there?

And is there the possibility that a $1 lightbulb costing pennies a day to light up could have prevented it — or at least, helped the police in their efforts to nab a suspect?

I think a night time lighting survey of the city’s high-crime areas may be in order.

Until then, I leave you with this, from the good folks at the Toronto Star:

Toronto Police illuminate the city’s darkest corners – thestar.com.

The TPS also provides a handy primer on CPTED, one of the more progressive areas of policing. Winnipeg police have 2-3 CPTED experts on the service (last I checked in early 2009), but their skills and knowledge are seldom — if ever —  talked about.

CPTED primer is here: cpted

12 thoughts on “Illuminating the darkest corners

  1. I vaguely recall a concerted effort to do this in the West End/West Broadway area back in the late 1990s/early 2000s. A number of homes had sodium lights placed on the front that looked very garish, but did a lot to illuminate some very dark areas. (A lot of homes still have them, although they have come down from many homes that have been renovated.) Several streets received brighter lights, like Selkirk.

    That said, a lot of inner city areas (not just the “sketchy hoods” but most older parts of the city) suffer from inadequate lighting. I know people don’t want to feel like they live at centre field in CanadInns Stadium, but more lighting would be a great idea – especially on ominously dark streets like parts of Sargent or Ellice. I would imagine that the technology has improved and gotten cheaper, making any such lighting program provide improved results (i.e. better lighting and less ugly) at a lower cost than in the past.

  2. Crime and crimes prevention is only one aspect of a healthy city, though — I very much don’t want to feel like I’m “living at centre field in CanadInns Stadium,” as is pointed out above.

    And I hate that I have to buy special room-darkening blinds so that I can sleep at night with all the streetlights blazing outside.

    And that glow of the city, when you approach from the highway at night? I don’t think that’s the glow from our Energy Star efficiency award.

    Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’m prepared to live with a slightly increased risk of crime so that my kids can look up and see what stars look like.

    1. Well, it’s all a matter of perspective. Really, the crime rate in the North End is still fairly low compared to some American cities. Not to belittle the concerns of the residents, but it’s not like there’s a murder a day or anything.

      And I haven’t *always* lived in Brandon 😉

      (Back on point — is there any evidence that lighting will actually reduce crime? Or does it just chase crime to other areas? IIRC, there are some studies that suggest this from cameras.)

      1. I’ll address the “crime ain’t so bad in the North End” some other day, but on the point that crime gets ‘chased to other areas,’ people seem to forget that disrupting crime even temporarily is a victory.

        To use an analogy I used on radio, imagine trying to run a Wal-Mart if you had to change the location, the supply chain, the parking and the labor once a week. Organized crime functions with geography just as much as everyday life does. Disrupt the geography, and you disrupt a gang’s ability to deliver its purported ‘benefits.’

      2. That’s the magic of data-led policing, as I understand it. Use the data to challenge entrenched crime issues, even if that means it gets pushed out to another area — because there, it’s much easier to deal with when it’s not yet entrenched. Simplistic explanation, I know, but that’s how I’ve come to see it.

        The real trick is being able to maintain the gains in an entrenched area by keeping the resources there.

  3. If you’re hitting the streets, try the length of Ellice Ave. between Arlington and Agnes or so… a stretch I would never walk down on account of street lighting that would make a country road look like Vegas.

    1. R.G., that’s the first strip that came to mind when thinking of ominously dark stretches of road. Between the dark sidewalks and sketchy apartment blocks, it is very uninviting. It’s practically tailor-made for nefarious activity, which is probably why one generally sees prostitutes plying their trade right there.

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