Harrisburg turning the lights back on

Beeping could be heard at the corner of Market and 2nd streets in Harrisburg as crews with a scissor lift installed a new light globe.

The latest street lamp fixture topped off a beautification project by the Downtown Improvement District.

President Todd Vander Woude said DID replaced 38 street lamps, planted trees, and placed new brick around Strawberry Square and Market Square.

“[The improvements] really add to the area and make it more friendly, and not only to those who work down here, to those who come and visit,” Vander Woude said.

DID is doing their part to help brighten up the city. Members of mayor-elect Eric Papenfuse's transition team said replacing broken street lamps and their bulbs would be a main goal his first year in office.

Spokesperson Joyce Davis said the mayor-to-be has a “full plate,” but intends to work with the city council to find a proper vendor to install LED light bulbs.

De-Azjazanni Davis said walking in some neighborhoods can be dangerous because many blocks are dark.

“People kidnapping and stuff,” she said. “Drug dealers and stuff around. I'm scared to walk around – just get kidnapped.”

Semaj McCraw was intrigued with the idea to replace the light bulbs.

“[Street lamps are] not good,” she said. “They need to be much brighter.”

In the 1980s, a study now named the “Broken Window Theory” examined the correlation between city lighting and instances of crime. The philosophy is that areas with blight attract more crime than areas with maintained properties in a well-lit area. This may seem like common sense, but there are some hard facts behind the theory.

A Northeastern University professor conducted a study with cities that initiated an aggressive “crime prevention through engineering” program and found cities reported up to 20 percent reduction in crime in one year.

The current city administration is still discussing a deal with Phillips to install LED light bulbs throughout the city. Davis said Papenfuse is not involved in the current deal at this time.

Harrisburg Public Works is asking people to report broken street lamps via email at streetlights@cityofhbg.com.

On June 7, Historic Harrisburg Association and Light Up Harrisburg will raise money to fix lights as well with a 5K “Glow Run.”

Vander Woude, who lives in Shipoke, is excited to see the city look a little brighter once again.

“I think it's just going to add a lot to the whole area, when you can get new and improved lighting to the area throughout,” he said.


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