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Top Harlow councillor calls for street lights to be switched back on

Politics / Wed 28th May 2014 am31 07:43am

Open Letter to:

Cllr David Finch, Leader, Essex County Council
Chief Insp Justin Smith, Essex Police

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to express my grave concerns about the implications of turning off the street lights at night in Harlow. These implications, I maintain, impact upon crime, security and residents’ sense of safety. These concerns have been shared with me by a significant number of Harlow residents, in particular in the ward of Bush Fair where I am an elected representative.

At the Bush Fair Neighbourhood Action Panel on 9th April I was informed that there was no statistical evidence of an “increase” in crime during the period the lights are off. I do not challenge those statistics but I do challenge their relevance.

What has clearly increased is the opportunity and conditions for crime where habitual or opportunist criminals are now handed the advantage of the cover of darkness in our neighbourhoods.

Such opportunism was captured through investigative journalism by Your Harlow, our local online newspaper and I would draw your attention to these online links to the news story and related video:
http://www.yourharlow.com/2014/05/15/are-thieves-clocking-on-at-midnight-in-harlow/

Without digressing, for this point has been made by residents with similar rigour, the number of pot holes and poor road surface conditions in Harlow become increasingly more hazardous for motorists and pedestrians when the lights are out and it would be wrong to glibly dismiss the impact upon residents of all ages sense of safety which feedback suggests has diminished.

I am asking through this letter that:
Essex County Council take note of these issues and concerns and reconsider its decision to turn off the lights in Harlow at night
Essex Police comments on the observations and indicate how they will respond to the increase in criminal opportunism

I am sending this as an open letter and look forward to a reply suitable for sharing with Harlow Residents.

Yours Sincerely

Cllr Ian Beckett
Harlow Council
Bush Fair Ward

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