As the problem of increasing street violence becomes more prevalent in large cities around the world, more people have begun working together to brainstorm affordable ways of preventing violence. Whether it’s New York City, or Chicago, or notoriously dangerous cities in England and Northern Ireland, residents have been coming together to find out what causes violence, and what can be done to keep it from claiming more innocent lives.
There’s no need to discuss the methods of violence, or whether gun control laws should be changed, or if politicians deserve to be blamed for what has happened. All of those topics have been covered ad nauseam in a plethora of news sources, and will probably continue to be discussed indefinitely. Instead, it’s time to focus on what individual citizens and neighborhoods can do to make their communities safer.
One of the most significant improvements a community can make isn’t to bring in more police, or to enact an evening curfew. This improvement is as simple as installing streetlights on main roads that see a lot of auto, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic at nightfall. A news publication based in the U.K. has recently released a report that shows an increase in traffic-related deaths, as well as intentional forms of street violence, when specific areas are required to turn off streetlights. Many people cite environmental concerns as the primary reason for turning off streetlights in busy areas, but as the article notes, leaving neighborhoods in the dark is essentially “a recipe for chaos.” In the past, darkened streets have most often been associated with war-zone activities which make travelling at night nearly impossible — many residents in these areas refuse to venture out on the streets in such cases. But when darkened streets become the norm, and as it becomes necessary for residents to venture outside in the dark, communities should pay attention to what a lack of lighting can do.
Not only are dark streets prime locations for vehicular accidents, but they also encourage robberies, verbal harassment, and physical attacks. News sources all over the world have recently picked up on the fact that the majority of woman don’t feel safe walking alone at night, and many news articles have published reports and independent projects in which average women have stated, over and over again, that walking on a dark street holds more risks than nearly any other daily activity. In other words, about half of the world’s population does not go out at night, or does so with extreme caution, simply because a lack of light creates dangerous environments.
So what can communities do? The answer is simple: determine which areas have the most pedestrian and auto traffic, and install streetlamps — even if violence doesn’t seem to be a problem yet. The best to solve a problem is to prevent it from happening, and with the technology available today, installing eco-friendly streetlights is becoming one of the most affordable ways to keep streets violence-free.