Study: Street Lights Don't Reduce Crime

Pacific Standard shares news of a study that debunks a long-held assumption of public safety.

1 minute read

June 6, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Tunnel Lights

hans engbers / Shutterstock

Lisa Wade digs into the research into the question of whether street lighting reduces crime. Although people, and sociologists, usually associate crime with economic factors like poverty and joblessness, "[w]hen early lighting companies began lobbying cities to install the first street lights at the end of the 1800s, they argued that bright lights would certainly deter crime."

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health concludes, however, that lighting does not deter crime. According to Wade, continuing to make an honest account of what does and does not deter crime, and how society might make investments with some hope of succeeding in reducing crime. 

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