During the middle ages nights were dangerous. People were afraid of the dark and rather stayed indoors. It was a time when criminals, prostitutes and drunks roamed the streets. It was easy for a criminal to assault or rob people. And the reason, there
was no street lighting. With the introduction of street lighting - candles inside a glass vessel followed by the invention of gas light
in 1792 and replaced by electric lighting at the turn of the 19th century, changed the whole dark/fear scenario. Lighting created
safer environments outdoors at night, it allowed people to go out and socialize, etc. In Ireland, street lighting was undertaken originally as a deterrent to crime.
1) Lamplighter lighting a gas streetlight in Sweden, 1953. By this time remaining gas lamps were rare curiosities. Gas lighting
of streets has not disappeared completely from some cities, and municipalities that retained gas lighting may now find that it
provides a pleasing nostalgic effect. 2) Candles first appeared about 1150. 3) The introduction of the Kerosene lamp about 1850. This lamp widely known as a paraffin lamp is a type of lighting device that uses kerosene (called paraffin in the UK, Southeast
Asia and South Africa)
The first street in the UK to be lit by electric light was Mosley Street, in Newcastle upon Tyne. The street was lit by Joseph
Swan's incandescent lamp on the 3rd February, 1879. The first in the United States, and second overall, was the Public
Square road system in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 29, 1879. Wabash, Indiana holds the title of being the third electrically-lit city
in the world, which took place on February 2, 1880. Four 3,000 candlepower Brush arc lamps suspended over the courthouse rendered the town square "as light as midday." Kimberley, South Africa, was the first city in the Southern Hemisphere and in
Africa to have electric street lights - first lit on 1 September 1882 . In Latin America, San Jose, Costa Rica was the first city, the system was launched on August 9, 1884, with 25 lamps powered by a hydroelectric plant. Timisoara, in present-day Romania,
was the first city in mainland Europe to have electric public lighting on the 12 of November 1884. 731 lamps were used. In 1888 Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia became the first location in Australia to have electric street lighting, giving the city the
title of "First City of Light". Source. Wikipedia.
Lighting in our modern age
Copyright on this image is owned by Henry Clark
Street lighting serves many purposes, such as allowing you to see a threat or suspicious persons or suspicious
activities. And it can help reduce crime and fear of crime.
Street lighting does make us feel safer. But does it serve as a crime deterrent? Some say, yes. Not necessarily,
Peter Wendt says in his article:
It's easy to hide when it's dark everywhere, said Reverend Carey, standing on a dark street in Oakland, California. Crime, he
said, can't be prevented when people can't see the criminals.
The debate on whether or not a lighted street at night reduces crime has flared anew, as frightened residents across the country have flooded local city councils with requests for more streetlights on city streets.
Research has indicated that more streetlights reduces crime.
Streetlights act as a natural deterrent and watchman, insisted Brandon Welsh, a professor of criminology at Northwestern University. Studies show that streetlights will reduce crime by 20 percent and more at night. These streetlights also give resi-
dents a feeling of ownership over their neighborhoods and a sense of pride, Welsh said.
However, tough budget times have cities scrambling to cut costs, and turning off street lights is one solution. This action has
placed city councils in direct conflict with chiefs of police who insist that more light means less crime.
For example, Oakland has seen a large increase in murders this year. So far, 85 people have been murdered in the city this
year. That's up 25 percent from the previous year.
The previous Oakland police chief requested more streetlights in the high-crime areas of Oakland. That lighting helped in redu-
cing crime. The chief said that when criminals want to commit a crime, they want to do it in darkness.
Because of the increased crime, the reverend has organized neighborhood watch groups to guard their neighborhoods. To do
that, though, requires more light, the reverend said. People can't report criminals if you can't see their faces, he added.
The increased crime that Oakland is experiencing is replicated in other cities across the United States.
The equation is simple: More lights mean less crime, according to an analysis published by the Campbell Collaboration.
The review by Campbell looked at 13 different studies of street lighting in the United States and England and found that
improved street lighting cut crime by 21 percent, as compared to areas where street lighting wasn't improved.
Street lighting was more effective in England, where crime fell by 38 percent. The drop in crime in The United States was
7 percent, although the studies used by Campbell were much older than those from England.
The Campbell study surmised that better street lighting also increased community pride. This community pride generated neighborhood solidarity that established an "informal social control" to reduce crime.
Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher living in Austin, Texas. Over the years he has become an authority on
electrician Austin TX (http://quantum-electric.com/)