Study Sheds Light on the Effect of Streetlights on Crime

A study of the neighborhood and streets in the city of Houston finds that streetlights aren't always an effective crime deterrent.
August 16, 2017, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A. Bisogni

Leah Bikovitz reports on new research [pdf] from former Kinder Institute fellow Heather O’Connell that "confirms that more streetlights don’t necessarily mean less crime" in Houston.

Among the study's findings, as shared by Binkovitz:

  • "Low crime rates appear throughout the city, in both high- and low-income neighborhoods. This challenges common overgeneralizations connecting poverty and crime."
  • "Crime rates are actually often higher in areas of the city with higher streetlight densities. "

The big takeaway from the study: cities and communities shouldn't expect streetlights to reduce crime, because they don't always achieve that effect.

A 2014 CityLab article by Mike Riggs provides more background on the "seemingly endless debate" about the effect of streetlights on crime.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, August 14, 2017 in The Urban Edge
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