'No lights - more crime'

PUBLISHED: 17:26 11 October 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 24 May 2010

COMMUNITY crimebusters have hit out at controversial proposals to turn off street lights at night across North Somerset - claiming it will increase crime

COMMUNITY crimebusters have hit out at controversial proposals to turn off street lights at night across North Somerset - claiming it will increase crime.North Somerset Council is currently considering proposals to turn off street lights in the early hours in a bid to slash its electricity costs by £500,000.But the move has prompted concern among community leaders who say the move could lead to an increase in crime and anti social behaviour.Clevedon Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Pat Polley said: "As a co-ordinator it concerns me that this action could plunge quiet areas of towns and villages into darkness increasing the possibility of criminal activities."For instance, our area is a series of cul-de-sacs and the residents would feel extremely vulnerable should this occur."Mrs Polley said other roads, such as major routes, could have restricted lighting.She added: "I would suggest that more major thoroughfares could be subject to light restriction."For example, in Clevedon we have North, Central and Southern Ways which are fully lit but have no pedestrian access from dwellings."These might be considered for light closure."Nailsea Local Action Team chairman John Hunter also raised concerns about the proposals.Mr Hunter said: "I am in favour of saving money, but there are implications."I would suggest the council look at installing lights which are activated by movement."This sort of scheme, which is already used in Europe, would be preferable to turning the lights off completely."I am unhappy about the proposals to switch off the lights as I think it would encourage the opportunist thief who would get to know the areas which would be in darkness."This would make people living in those streets far more vulnerable."North Somerset Council said the lights proposals were being looked at but no decision would be made without full consultation with local residents, police and other safety organisations.

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