Are DC non-working streetlights contributing to crime?

Are DC non-working streetlights contributing to crime? (ABC7 photo)

Lights tell us where and when to go, but one Washington D.C. community activist believes too many street lights in the Nation’s Capitol aren’t working at all.

“In 2016 there’s no excuse for streets lights being off," activist Terry Lynch said.

Terry Lynch with the Downtown Cluster of Congregations was so upset about poor lighting in locations where women were sexually assaulted near Georgetown that Monday he canvassed three additional neighborhoods were crimes took place – Shaw, Adams Morgan, and Dupont Circle – and found 30 examples of busted street lights.

In the Shaw neighborhood, a light was out near a homicide scene.

“So this whole stretch here right next to the school leading up to Columbia Heights is very dark and tragic last week we had a fatal shooting just down the block,” Lynch said.

In Dupont Circle, a light was out near the scene of a groping. Both incidents occurred after dark. It’s hard to say if a lack of lighting contributed to these crimes. But Lynch insists the bigger issue is that the city’s system of replacing broken street lights - in which a contractor responds to a complaint - is outdated, untimely, and compromises safety.

“So when street lights are out it puts people at increased risk. Unfortunately, there are predators out there and they take advantage," Lynch said.

We should note, a number of the lights Lynch had as being out have already been fixed. We asked a DC Department of Transportation spokesperson if the agency is pleased with its present contractor, and the response we got back was-- results of a performance assessment on that contractor should be back in the next few weeks.

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