Claims may counter savings

WITH regards the proposed reduction in street lighting by Derbyshire County Council I would like to make the following comments.

Whilst taking into account the need to reduce local government spending, I believe that reducing the level of street lighting is not only ill-conceived and potentially dangerous, it may result in multiple claims against the council, thereby countering any savings made.

As autumn gives way to the dark winter nights, safety precautions become increasingly paramount:

Government sources have recently reported an unexpected 25 per cent surge in personal thefts and a four per cent increase in burglaries in the first set of official quarterly crime figures since the economic recession took hold.

Last winter, a four per cent rise in burglary, including domestic burglary, marked the end of a sustained 55 per cent decline in burglary since the mid-1990s.

While darkness and inclement weather, such as would be reasonably expected during the winter months, reduces the number of people available as victims, as people tend to stay off the street under these conditions, those individuals who are outdoors are more vulnerable as there would be fewer potential witnesses to deter criminals.

Studies also show that property crime tends to rise during this time, as it not only gives perpetrators a longer dark coverage but also makes it more obvious when homes are empty. Property crimes such as burglary, vehicle theft, and vehicle interference (including vandalism or attempted theft) notably peak in winter-months.

The holiday season is in particular a time to be wary, with the days at their shortest and homes likely to contain potentially expensive consumer goods in the form of presents.

Paul Bishop

By email