Rockford Streetlight Operation Completed

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Twenty-three hundred streetlights have been removed from Rockford neighborhoods, completing a near-year long project that will save half-a-million dollars a year.

"I leave my post light on every night because it's so dark here in the corner."

Ever since Shannon Brands' streetlight was removed, her sense of security has dimmed.

"There are a lot of kids that think it's fun to go down the street and target people because nobody turns on their porch light, so without the street lights, we've got absolutely nothing," she says.

She has fought vandalism and getting egged. And fears even more problems now that 23-hundred lights are gone.

"What are the street lights for? I thought they were there for public safety so you could drive safely down the streets so people and children could be safe on residential streets," says Brand.

"A streetlight is a street light, it's not there for security," says Rockford Public Works Director Tim Hanson.

If you feel uncomfortable with how dark it is, the city says you can rent a street light, but that will cost you ten-to-15 bucks a month.

"It's like a floodlight and it will light up your entire yard," says Hanson.

Hanson says they strategically picked which lights should go, avoiding intersections, curves and important buildings. ComEd uninstalled them at its own expense, not taxpayers. This powers the city with half-a-million dollars in savings each year. Hanson says this saved seven jobs. Jobs greatly needed as we approach snow plow season

"We do subscribe to using yard lights, lights on your garage, lights on your front door. We have to use something different there because we just cannot pay for the budget we have right now," he says.

Many homeowners now pay with darkness and fear of the unknown.

"I can't see anything that's going on on the property around me, so yes, I worry constantly," says Brands.

There were a handful of lights removed on accident that ComEd is working to reinstall. If you're interested in renting a flood light from ComEd, call 1-866-639-3531. Press option #2, and then hit #2 again.

The Rockford Police Department is currently reviewing data to see if there has been a spike in crime where streetlights were removed.

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  • by Dave Location: Illinois on Dec 7, 2011 at 09:22 AM
    Nighttime lighting doesn't lower crime; 60% of all crime happens during the day! (FBI stats.) More light lets criminals see you, and what you have on you to rob. "More night light" is just a way to say, "I'm afraid of the dark." Guess who else is? CRIMINALS! Look what happened in the U.K.: Lights off, crime went DOWN (in Essex it went down by 50%!). Rockford has the 9th highest crime rate - I'd bet in 2 years that will change drastically.... for the better. Save money, reduce crime - what's not to like? Don't be afraid of the dark; "feeling" safer doesn't mean you ARE safer. Your eyes were designed to see at night; let them work as intended.
  • by Concerned Citizen Location: Rockford on Nov 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM
    Last year the city put $1 Million worth of new lights on Kishwaukee street. This year, they remove 2,300 lights from other parts of the city. How did this make sense to the Mayor and the City Council?? And why didn't they just remove the bulbs instead of totally removing the entire light fixture that was attached to the poles.
  • by Kelly Location: Mt. Morris on Nov 23, 2011 at 05:40 AM
    Driving to my sisters last week, I noticed how dark it was at the intersection where I turned on her street. I understand what Mr. Hanson is saying about providing light on your own house, but what do you do when you live near a corner and you have no occupants of those houses so you have no one to PAY extra to have lights on the telephone poles that sit on the corner. I really feel for the city of Rockford. The crime is crazy, and the council does one more thing to take away security from the everyday law abiding citizen.
  • by Brian Location: W on Nov 22, 2011 at 09:36 PM
    Hansen doesn't care about crime in Rockford and the security that street lights give people because of his $500,000 house in Byron. But Venita Herpe or what ever her name is is wants to make it mandatory that police and fire fighters have Rockford residency...... why not make the head of Public works live here too. Hansen, you are a joke along with the rest of your buddy Morrissey and his inner circle.
  • by sober on Nov 22, 2011 at 07:08 PM
    why didnt they do this in the summer when the days are longer?! then turn them back on in the fall?! makes no sense! saving money = bigger bonus
  • by Kari Location: Rockford on Nov 22, 2011 at 06:53 PM
    If you're upset at the removal of streetlights, please join us in a protest march on Saturday from the Public Safety building to City Hall at 5 pm.
  • by betty Location: rockford on Nov 22, 2011 at 03:58 PM
    we live on the west side they took are lights but they sure did not fix the one on the corner of rockton and maple thank you
  • by Rockford Voter Location: Rockford on Nov 22, 2011 at 03:18 PM
    I'll bet that Tim Hanson lives on a street with lights. At one time he didn't even live in Rockford, but he had an address in one of Larry Morissey's buildings to get around the requirement of having to live in Rockford.
  • by Concerned Citizen Location: Rockford on Nov 22, 2011 at 03:16 PM
    I feel really stupid. All these years I though the street lights were so we would be safe. Now I find out we don't even need them. Tim Hanson should be in Washington, he would fit right in with his idiotic ideas of what the people need.
  • by In The Dark Location: 9th most dangerous city in America. on Nov 22, 2011 at 01:36 PM
    We need to band together and turn out the lights on the leaders who govern this city on election day.
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