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New Program Aims To Brighten Streets Of Baltimore

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Baltimore City Councilmember Bill Howard pushed legislation to create a program that joins residents, the police, and city utility workers together to make neighborhood streets safer through better lighting.
BaltimoreCity.gov
Baltimore City Councilmember Bill Howard pushed legislation to create a program that joins residents, the police, and city utility workers together to make neighborhood streets safer through better lighting.

City leaders in Baltimore want to shine a light on crime with a new effort to trim trees and upgrade streetlights. City Councilmember Bill Henry is the man behind the so-called "mug-free zone" program.

Henry goes straight to scripture to pitch the new lighting program.

"There's a biblical quote, something like, 'Evil cannot stand the light.' It's as simple as: bad stuff is less likely to happen when everybody can see it," he says.

Under the program, the city will come into a neighborhood concerned about crime and brighten things up. But first, residents must show they've done their part.

The police department must certify residents are turning on their porch lights and trimming trees around the light poles before any improvements are made. He admits it's a new level of bureaucracy at a time when municipal resources are scarce.

"Yes, you've got what people think of as the big picture issues. But it's the little stuff, the day-to-day stuff that really matters in terms of whether or not people want to live here," Henry says.

That's important, he says, in a city that's starting to see its population stabilize after decades of decline.

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