Half of Detroit’s street lights will soon be going dark in an effort to save the city money.
Detroit’s population has been shrinking and the city will start shutting off the street lights in sparsely populated communities.
Chris Brown, Detroit’s COO, said:
“You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population. We’re not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas.”
The city is now deciding what area will go dark. Which is no easy task. Business owners are worried about the crime rate exploding once the lights go out.
amahl Makled, 40, said he’s owned businesses in southwest Detroit for about two decades, most recently cell-phone stores. He said they’ve have been burglarized more than a dozen times.
Jamahl Makled, a business owner in South Detroit, said:
“In the dark, criminals are comfortable. It’s not good for the economy and the safety of the residents.”
The city, according to Crains Detroit, has 88,000 streetlights. 40% of those streetlights are already broken and the city doesn’t have the money to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing has proposed a plan to borrow $160 million to upgrade the streetlights while reducing the total number to about 46,000. Maintenance on the upgraded streetlights will then be contracted out, which could save the city about $10 million a year.
The SF Gate reports that other cities, like Santa Rosa, California and Rockford, Illinois, have gone partially dark to save money. Detroit’s plan is more extreme, however, as half of the cities streetlights could soon be going dark. Detroit has a population of about 713,000 people over 139 square miles.