New street lighting report only looks at ‘rural’ Boston police beats

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A new police report released today (Monday) looking at the effect of changes to overnight lighting only looks at two of the five Boston beat areas - but leaves the three ‘town’ beats due to the ‘large mixture’ of lighting.

The Street Lighting report, published today (Monday) and due to be submitted to Lincolnshire County Council as part of its ongoing consultation into the changes it made, examines figures from Boston Rural West and East, but misses out Boston Town East, West and Centre wards.

The report says that the three town centre wards were not included ‘as they form Boston town centre which was subject to a large mixture of LED lighting and ‘part-night’ lighting in the residential areas deemed appropriate’.

In the two wards which were examined, due to the phased nature of the lighting changes, Boston Rural West saw figures from November 2016 through to May 2017 compared to the same time for the previous year, while Boston Rural East saw December 2016 to February 2017 compared with the previous year.

The report shows that the Rural West area saw a reduction in the number of offences for burglaries (three fewer) and vehicle crime (one fewer), with no thefts from person or robbery offences reported in either time period. March of 2017 saw a rise of four criminal damage offences, but the report says they ‘appear unrelated and a reason for this spike cannot be identified although it evidently contributes to the overall increase’.

It concludes that: “Changes over the two time periods differ dependent on crime type, due to this inconsistency it is not possible to state that introducing ‘part-night’ street lighting impacts upon changes to crime levels.”

For Rural East, the report says that burglaries were subject to a ‘slight reduction’ across the two time periods whereas vehicle crime increased by five and criminal damages increased by four offences.

However, again it says that no direct reason for the changes in offences can be identified from this data.

It concludes: “Due to the inconsistencies in the direction of changes recorded it is likely that street lighting has not impacted upon the crime levels in this beat code area.”

Overall it states that the number of offences ‘fluctuates’ across the two time periods, and said that where crime was reported to have increased ‘further review highlighted there was no available explanation’.

The report says: “These two areas of Boston were subject to inconsistent changes across crime types with a mix of both increases and reductions in the number of offences recorded.

“This lack of uniformity in the changes suggests it is not possible to attribute these changes that have occurred to the implementation of the ‘part-night’ lighting.”

More than 42,000 street lights have been switched off between the hours of 12pm and 6am across the entire county.

The report, released today considers crimes including burglaries, violence, robberies, vehicle offences and cases of criminal damage in the areas affected by the changes.

As reported earlier, Lincolnshire Police has found a ‘slight increase’ in overnight crimes across the county has a whole.

However, assistant Chief Constable Shaun West said: “This is not surprising as we are experiencing more calls than ever before and overall crime in Lincolnshire has increased, as it has nationally. Crime is up by four per cent in our county and the national average stands at an 11 per cent rise.

“At present we believe there is no link between the introduction of part-night lighting and levels of crime. We will continue to monitor crime levels and if our analysis highlights any concerns at any time we will speak with the council. We may also look at other types of crime to ensure we are gaining a complete picture.

“I fully understand that when part-night lighting was introduced residents were concerned about their safety. Lincolnshire is an incredibly safe place to live and rest assured we are fully committed to making sure you are safe day and night.”

Marc Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire Police says: “I welcome the Chief Constables’ decision to commission this report and his commitment to a continuous review of that intelligence. It is vital that people both are and feel safe and we will continue our efforts to ensure both.”

Lincolnshire County Council is currently consulting residents and businesses on the impact of part-night lighting.

The authority has costed the project at £6.4m to implement, but says it will make savings of £10m over the next 10 years.

It will also reduce LCC’s carbon footprint by 6,254 tonnes, says the council, more than a third of the council’s five year carbon reduction target.

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