by stewartgolton on 22 May, 2016
Rothwell Lib Dem councillor has called for street lights to be switched back on after evidence mounts that the cash saving policy has lead to an increase in crime.
Coun Stewart Golton has repeated his demand for an immediate end to the council’s policy of switching off street lights to save money.
Leeds City Council bosses assured residents that switching off street lights in localised areas would have no effect on the crime rate.
Six months on however, evidence is mounting that crime has indeed risen and some residents are paying a high price for the council’s policy.
Coun Golton said: “Council tax goes up every year and people understand that the council has to make it stretch ever further. However, it is only fair that people should be guaranteed the essential basic services and one of those is to be safe and secure with well-lit streets.
“It’s barmy to think that giving criminals the cover of darkness would have no effect on crime levels. Rothwell was the first area to be targeted for the street lights to be switched off and day by day, more evidence appears that the residents are paying the price.
“One resident on Queen’s Drive, Carlton has suffered two burglaries since the light outside his property was switched off. Prior to that the family has lived thirty years on the same street and have not had a crime
“I am now urging the council to see sense and look at other ways they could save money.
“No one should have to deal with the distress that a burglary brings, or worry about walking home late at night, just so that the council can save a few pennies.”
The switch off has been controversial from the beginning, with the council claiming that it was a necessary move to save money. This is despite receiving £6m in compensation last year for underperformance from the company that operates the streetlights for the council. Instead of investing that money in LED light bulbs that would have saved money while avoiding any lights out, the council chose to bank the £6m and carry on regardless with its policy of switching off streetlights.