Richmond residents worry that bad lighting invites crime

Posted at 12:54 AM, Oct 10, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-10 00:54:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--You'll see a lot of neighborhood watch signs posted in one neighborhood on Richmond’s Southside, but, a woman who lives on that side of town says it’s tough to watch anything in her community these days. 

“I wouldn't dare walk in the dark,” says Tina Tune.  She said there isn't adequate lighting to illuminate her street.

With recent crimes occurring within just blocks from her home, Tune feels the lack of lighting is creating a safe-haven for criminals to lurk and easily escape crime scenes unnoticed. “People have a tendency to go where there is less lighting to do what they need to do,” Tune said.

The persistent darkness is why Tune’s neighbors tell us they walk in the street, where there's at least a little lighting, rather than the sidewalk. Tune said she's been looking for answers as to why this problem hasn't been fixed for years.

So, we took her concerns to Richmond City Council woman Reva Trammell.  "They live there,” she said.  “They know what they need.”

“Give it to them,“ Trammell said.

Trammell said she's brought this very issue before fellow council members and the mayor's administration in the past.  She said the mayor's office told her they'd complete a study to see if lighting could be added in her district, but, hasn't seen any work. 

“We don't want no more studies,” Trammell said. “Who knows more about a neighborhood than people who live in the neighborhood?”

“Let them tell you and you go out there and do it.”

Angela Fountain, with the city’s Department of Public Utilities said they set lighting standards in the department.  She said the only way they veer away from their set standards is if police tell them more lighting is needed in a high crime area.

She pointed to Jeff Davis highway which recently saw a lighting upgrade on the city’s Southside as an example.