Braintree district: Safety fears as street light switch-off begins (From Braintree and Witham Times)
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Braintree district: Safety fears as street light switch-off begins
11:00am Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
Four in ten people do not feel safe outside after dark, as an overnight street light switch-off begins in Braintree and Witham.
Essex County Council (ECC) started turning off the majority of lights across Braintree district from midnight to 5am each night on Sunday.
Last week ECC published details of its consultation with councils and emergency services before introducing the scheme.
Although the council argues crime has dropped in Maldon and Uttlesford, where the part night lighting has been in place since 2007, it concedes the scheme could cause greater fear of crime.
ECC street lighting manager Keith Tovee said: “Although fear of crime may not be justified by the evidence on offending levels, it is important because fear of crime can influence people’s behaviour – for example by deterring them from going out after dark.”
A council survey shows 60 per cent of people in Braintree district feel safe outside after dark, four per cent more than in 2006.
But perceptions of safety increased by 36 per cent in Maldon during the same period, following the switch-off.
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