Editor’s Note: In the last decade, the City of Detroit replaced its antiquated, broken streetlight system with new LED lights. The project reduced the number of streetlights from around 88,000, many of which were nonfunctional, to roughly 65,000. The city acknowledged that the reduced number of lights meant some streets would be darker.
I want to talk about the lack of light in Detroit, Michigan.
When you take out the trash at night on my street, you see nothing. When you walk down the street, you see nothing.
When you hear gunshots on my street, you see nothing. Pure darkness.
When you look at a satellite image of Detroit, you’ll see a lot of downtown and main streets lit up. What you don’t see is a lot of lighting on side streets and neighborhoods. For example, in my neighborhood, there is only one light on my whole block.
Some nights, it’s really dark, and I get nervous taking out the trash.
When there’s no lighting, there are a lot of safety issues: getting hit by a car, car theft, mugging, rape, house break-ins. In fact, my neighbor’s car was broken into, and stolen, due to the lack of lights in my neighborhood.
I think if the City of Detroit put more lights on the side streets, people like me would feel more comfortable doing things at night.
With more lights, more people would move into neighborhoods. Adding light would decrease crime, and increase home values
My call to action, personally, is we need to talk to each other about it.
Tell everybody. Tell people in the government. Tell the mayor. Call people.
I don’t usually hear people talk about this. That’s why I’m trying to take that big step.
For people like us.
Donyale Sharp is a Detroit high school student.
More: These kids have a lot to say. We should listen to them.