Suffolk sees fall in crime after reducing nighttime lighting

Crime in Suffolk has fallen in areas where part-night lighting was introduced, according to an assessment by Suffolk County Council.

The council looked at crime rates in the fifteen weeks before and after the introduction of a £2.8 million Telensa control system, which allows some lights to be switched off for part of the night. It found that crime rates were lower in places where streetlighting was reduced between the hours of midnight and 5.30am.

Daily crime rates fell by 19 per cent within 80 metres of areas where part-night lighting has been introduced, according to a summary of the report published in the Lighting Journal. In areas where the lighting was left unchanged, crime rose during the same period. Overall, crime was down by about five per cent after the introduction of the system.

The report pointed out that the effect could partly be a result of ‘crime migration’, but added that ‘these areas are predominantly in town centres where CCTV is in operation’.

The council also found that in areas where lights were left on to help people walking home from pubs, pedestrians were funnelled down these routes, leading to an increase in antisocial behaviour.

A further benefit was that ambulances found it easier to locate the homes they were looking for at night, because with no streetlights on, it was easier to spot homes with their lights on.