A bright idea could help to reduce crime in Williamsport

As a crime prevention measure, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana wants to see replacement of streetlights that are dim and with low wattage exchanged for higher wattage and longer-lasting, more energy efficient lights.

On Monday, he said his “Lights On” initiative likely will begin by July and include the replacement or addition of about 100 streetlights.

City Council authorized spending $50,000, when it floated a $20 million bond, toward replacing streetlights, Campana said.

The lights to be replaced are along Memorial Avenue, between Campbell and Rose streets, High Street, between Campbell and Rose streets, Isabella Street, from Fifth to Seventh avenues and Wildwood Boulevard, south of High Street.

“It’s another wonderful proactive step our mayor has taken to help in the fight on drugs in our community,” said Bernadine Timmins, a neighborhood watch group coordinator and property owner.

“I’m glad it’s happening,” Council President Bill Hall said Monday upon hearing Campana was planning to use the $50,000 for the initiative.

“It’s somewhat of a complex project,” said Councilman N. Clifford “Skip” Smith, chairman of the public safety and public works committees.

“It’s got to be done right, to make sure there is enough light, the proper neighborhoods are lit and a cost analysis needs to be done because we want to make sure we get every bang for our buck.”

Smith said the installation can’t be a bother to residents. “We don’t want the light going into neighbors’ windows,” he said, confident the canopy lights won’t spread light where it is not desired. The project must be reviewed first by the committees, he said.

Improving streetlights has deterred crime in other cities, said city police Assistant Chief Tim Miller. “It hardens the target,” he said.

For the neighbors, improved lighting can instill community pride and make people feel safer, he said.

Improving lighting and visibility helps, he said. “They tend to go out more and that means more eyes and ears on the streets,” he said.