UPDATE: "Light Up South Bend" program aims to make neighborhoods - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: "Light Up South Bend" program aims to make neighborhoods safer

SOUTH BEND - South Bend Common Council members are trying to fight crime in two of the city's neighborhoods with light.

Council members Tim Scott and Karen White gathered Wednesday morning in the LaSalle Park neighborhood to announce the Light Up South Bend pilot program. Scott and White say the program aims to discourage crime by making city streets better lit. They determined which areas needed more lighting from a study conducted by city engineers and by talking to residents during Residential Neighborhood Committee meetings.

Vice President of the Keller Park Neighborhood Association, Vince Barletto says the lights will not only promote safety, they will also help beautify the city.  "There is something that comes along with walking down a street at night and having lights," Barletto said, "that encourages neighborhood communities, it encourages knowing everybody and working together and having that neighbor to neighbor feeling."

In the program, the city plans to work with I&M Power to add 76 new street lights to the LaSalle Park (50) and Keller Park (26) neighborhoods. The city is still in discussions with I&M on the logistics of installing the lights, but expect the first dozen to go up in August.

"I'm not going to stay inside my house just because it's dark," says Bootsie Grant.

She's the President of the Keller Park Neighborhood Association, and she's fed up with suspicious activity at night,
 "Looking in windows, trying to get into cars. It's just a problem," she says.

Keller Park has a lot of tree coverage, making it easy for potential criminals to hide.The city's doing something about it, after Grant went around the neighborhood with a petition to get more street lights installed. 1st District Councilman, Tim Scott, says it's his job to help citizens who come to him,

 "It just was kind of born out of the citizens and that's why we're here. we listen to the citizens and then put resolutions in place," says Scott.

 The city budgeted $200,000 for the project last year.

"The great thing about this, this was money proposed in last year's budget and you're seeing it implemented now," he adds.

He believes more street lights will reduce crime,
 "If you look at Diamond Avenue was completely re-done and a lot of lights there. and all the neighbors are saying that crime issues at night have gone away," he says.

We checked with residents on Diamond Ave., and they agree; the lights are helping.

"I think there's a big difference you know, having lights out, it's easier to get caught really," says one resident, Veronica Jurek.

 "I don't see nothing' bad or anything going on at night," says Angela Smith, another resident.

Grant says she's happy the council got the ball rolling on her idea, but it's long overdue,

"It's something that needed to happen years ago," says Grant.


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