Friday, August 31, 2012

Keep Me Safe....In An Æsthetically Pleasing Manner

Sooo, bit of a "crime wave" in Broad Ripple -- especially "downtown," where the presence of hip'n'happenin' bars, young people and the lousy judgement that often accompanies the combination of the two insures that there is always a little crime lapping about the ankles of Riparians.

The response? Why a Facebook page, a fund-raising initiative and a petition asking the mayor to "...install decorative street lights in an aesthetically pleasing way from Broad Ripple Avenue down to Kessler Blvd on the side streets of Carrollton, Guilford and Winthrop."

I'm not mocking -- all things being equal, if streetlights are going in, I'd as soon have lights that fit in with the quaint-to-twee character of residential Broad Ripple and I will happily contribute a few bucks to pay for 'em.

However, if you want to stop a wave, you might want to do a few things your ownself, like keeping doors and windows locked -- won't stop criminals, but it slows them down -- leaving your porch light(s) on (I dislike CFLs, but boy are they cheap to run 24/7!), and even hiring yourself a streetlight.

Yep, hiring one: for a low installation cost and small monthly fee that includes maintenance and power, Indianapolis Power & Light will very happily hang a somewhat unaesthetic streetlight on any pole they have space on* -- or put in a pole or make the light prettier for a little more up front. Dark alley behind your house? It doesn't have to be! (Most power companies offer a similar deal; local laws and customs may vary, please check.)

You could also arm yourself with a gun and some training; but not everyone is willing to do so. Me, I am, but I'd just as soon avoid having to use it. Lights and locks are a big help in stopping crime before it starts. It's not 100% but it has a known deterrent effect. (Also, to avoid crime away from home? Try not weaving back alone and tiddly to your car parked on a dark and isolated side street. Any adjectives you can drop from that sentence will help. Just sayin'.)
* Trivia: most of the smaller/shorter poles are owned by The Phone Company, who were polling your neighborhood back when the lights burned gas. The various pole owners and users keep track, tallying them up to figure out who owes rent to who (latecomers like cable TV always end up paying!). But that's not your worry.


Bubblehead Les. said...

I like Hard-Wired Motion Sensor lights in the Back Yard myself. Yes, sometimes the Bunnies trips them, but I've been awaken a couple of times by the sound of "^&^^! Let's get out of here!" Also, it doesn't annoy the Neighbor behind me by shining a light into their Bedroom.

Anonymous said...

The reverse can be annoying in low-crime rural areas. There's a lake near here that's a lovely place for a quiet moonlight canoe paddle, but a surprising number of lakeshore homeowners leave their water-side yard lights blazing all night. I don't get it....

Anonymous said...

Let's see - lots of lights - low crime area - Hmmmmmmm???!

Anonymous said...

Good posting. Where I live there are no street lighs, but the power company will install one as you posted. Cost only $5.00 a month, all maintenance free. Well worth the costs. Several others in the subdivision also have them. Helps a lot, we are a quiet neighborhood as well, I highly recommend them. Also help with night shootings ATB

Anonymous said...

TPC - The Phone Company
Lauded in the film The President's Analyst as the uber-villian responsible for all things evil!
Jus' sayin'!


Wilson said...

I didn't move out here to the boondocks 35 years ago because I wanted streetlights, paved roads and sidewalks. It really amazes me how soon city folk who move here all decide that it should be improved with all of those things. Put a pole light in your driveway and suddenly you can't see the sky anymore at night. What a waste. If these amenities are important to folks they should not move to places that don't have them. Chances are those already living there won't see them as improvements. People who are afraid of the dark should not live in the country.

oberta X, remotely said...

Where I grew up, there wasn't a single farm that didn't have a pole light, usually covering the space between house and barn(s). YMMV, but those folks needed the light for work.

In town, lighting up the outside of your house is just good sense.

jed said...

Well, horses for courses. Yeah, the power company most places will do the lighting. In some cases, they don't even ask first, which happened to a friend of mine. Moved out away from the bright lights. Then a few years later got a notice from the R.E.A. saying they were going to come by to put in the pole light. No permission sought. Well, there went one of my good telescope sites (did I mention there was a hot tub available too?). All the neighbors got 'em.

I'm with Wilson. But I sure do know about that farmhouse issue too. Made it easier to find the outhouse at 0-dark:30 too.

Wilson said...


I'm wondering if some clever fellow couldn't figure out a way to remove/disable the bulb (without actually shooting it out, of course).

Did you ever ask the REA to come and turn it off? Who knows, they might actually do it.

jed said...

Wasn't my house. There are various remedies, such as different heads with more directionality. The International Dark Sky Association has more info, for the curious.

Tam said...

It would be interesting to see the Venn diagram of people who make "scared of the dark" comments on the internet with people who talk about crossing I-465 like they're going to downtown Beirut.

"Ah never go down there unless ah'm carryin' two extra guns! Hyuk, hyuk..."

Gee, the neighbor's seven-year-old daughter somehow manages to walk to school without so much as a gun-shaped chicken tender, ya big baby.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

That is an absolutely fascinating bit of trivia. I had no idea that street lights were rentable, either... thank you!