City's night-time theft increased by 500 per cent after streetlight switch-off (From St Albans & Harpenden Review)
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St Albans night-time theft increased by 500 per cent after Hertfordshire streetlight switch-off
Reports of night-time theft in St Albans have increased by more than 500 per cent since the county council turned off the streetlights.
There were an extra 32 reports of personal theft during the hours of midnight and 6am in 2012/13, than in 2009/10.
The figures were provided as part of a review into the county council’s part-night lighting scheme, where the majority of the county’s street lights are turned off overnight to save money.
The police claim spike in theft is not related to streetlights being switched off.
Olivia Finucaine, from the police, said: "Hertfordshire has a continuing falling crime rate and one of the best detection rates of any police force in the country.
"We continue to work closely with the county council to monitor crime.
"It has been agreed should evidence suggest, which it has not done so, that lack of lighting has had an adverse effect on crime incidents, the lighting could be switched back on in the specific locations affected."
She said there has been no increase in incidents, or any change in crime patterns, that might relate to street lights being switched off, and that street lighting is not considered an influencing factor in crime and disorder.
Out of the 38 thefts in 2012/13, 34 related to mobile phones stolen from people in the city’s nightclubs.
During a review of the part-night lighting scheme, Michael Rhead from Hertfordshire Constabulary revealed that county-wide, the number of reported crimes has decreased year on year from 32,673 in 2009/10 to 25,526 in 2012/13.
He added: "There is a fear of crime, but crime levels have not increased broadly."
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