A decision to switch off Warwickshire’s street lights between midnight and 5.30am has been condemned by a councillor who said it increased the fear of crime for women.
A county council review of the scheme highlighted savings made since the decision was taken five years ago with further cash being saved with the introduction of LED street lighting the following year.
But Cllr Caroline Phillips (Lab Stockingford) said the report’s findings were flawed.
She explained: “If you look at the conclusions, it assumes that everything is wonderful and that everybody is male, everybody has a car and nobody works shifts. Well I’m sorry but that’s just not the case.
“It is all well and good saying there is no relationship to crime. If you are a female, work shifts and go to the bus stop at 5am in the morning well then the fear of crime is a really big issue. I would like to see a woman’s perspective and a pedestrian’s perspective put on these reports.”
The review pointed out that crime levels had not increased since the lights were switched off at night and it was also explained that the system could be switched on if the police or another of the emergency services needed to deal with an incident.
This happened 134 times over the last financial year.
Cllr Andy Crump (Con Southam, Stockton and Napton), portfolio holder for fire and rescue and community safety said he would raise Cllr Phillips’ concerns.
He added: “I agree that the fear of crime is very disconcerting but we do talk about this regularly at the Safer Warwickshire Partnership Board and I will take those points on board. We need to address those fears whether they are founded or unfounded.”
And Cllr Judy Falp (Ind Whitnash) said while it was positive that there was no link between crime and the switch-off, that news needed to be broadcast.
“This is good news and we need to let our residents know,” she said. “We need to communicate that it is not street lighting that has caused the increase in crime because residents still think it is.”