What Happens in the Shadows: Streetlights and How They Relate To Crime

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We see limited potential for any impact of improved street
lighting on reductions in crime. Higher streetlight density is
actually related to higher levels of crime, with the exception
of the number of crimes against persons. However, even
that association for crime against persons may only be
driven by differences at the extreme ends of the streetlight
density distribution.
We also found that the relationship between streetlights
and crime differs across racial/ethnic composition. This
inconsistency suggests that any impact of streetlights is
highly context-dependent and likely unrelated to the lights
The positive relationship between streetlights and crime
is contrary to the protective role of lighting that has been
suggested previously. However, it is a valuable reminder
that well-lit places are also places of high activity that may
attract some crime. Alternative crime deterrents need to
be considered that are effective in both the light and the