Over the weekend, I wrote about how the vandalism in Midtown, Harrisburg following the Labor Day’s Kipona’s festival shined a light on some of the racial tensions in that part of the city, but one of the complaints that have been popping up following the incident was the lack of street lighting along Front Street.
In response to the vandalism, Mayor Papenfuse described the event as “unfortunate but very isolated,” and continued with “[the vandalism] has to do with a lack of economic opportunity, as well as lack of educational opportunity.”
Following the event, many residents cited the lack of street lights along Front St. as one of the main reasons why the vandalism occurred. The city is in the process of converting of all of the street lamps from incandescent bulbs to LED lamps.
In October 2014, the city was awarded a 500,000 grant to install LED lamps and upgrade 4,500 of the city’s 6,100 lamps, and according to Fox 43, it would cost the city $3 million. Unfortunately the project is months behind schedule because Harrisburg City Council is still in the process of finalizing a loan and hiring a contractor for the project. The project was not able to get finalizing because City Council was on summer break.
Questions asking about the city’s lighting situation, especially along Front Street leading into Midtown, and if this weekend’s vandalism would prompt City Council to work on this issue in a much timelier fashion were sent to the Mayor’s office, who did not respond by the time this story was published.
According to the Campbell Collaboration, an international research firm that studies “crime & justice, education, international development and social welfare,” published a study indicating that “improved street lighting can contribute to significantly reduce crime.” The review found that crime can be reduced by 21 percent with effective street lighting, but the results in the United States witness only an 8 percent reduction. The organization stated that that’s because American studies were outdated or did not specify the time of day crimes occurred.