Off-campus lighting vital for student, community safety

Emily Carmichael, Staff Writer

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The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Proper lighting is not only an aesthetic issue, but also a safety one. Recent crime around campus has reminded the Tulane community of the importance of basic safety measures like streetlights. As a community, Tulane should follow the St. Charles Avenue Association’s example of civil activism to ensure the continued repair of the streetlights around campus and advocate for increased lighting off campus as well.

A survey conducted by the SCAA in July found that 70 percent of the streetlights along St. Charles Avenue from South Carrollton Avenue to Broadway Street and about 80 percent of the lights from Broadway Street to Napoleon Avenue are out of working order. Earlier this year, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration dedicated 1.7 million dollars to replacing streetlight bulbs, but Tulane must do its part to ensure students’ safety.  

Associated Student Body President Christopher Halbohn started an initiative to increase off-campus lighting, especially in hot spots around campus such as Palmer and Calhoun streets and on the downtown campus.

Often the streetlights are either out of order, non-existent or too far from the streets to service pedestrians. 

Halbohn said when meeting with city officials he was told that the streetlights were for the streets not the sidewalk. Tulane students mostly use the sidewalks, however, so the university must make proper lighting a priority if the city does not. 

Streetlights are proven to decrease crime, making them necessary for student and community safety. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, improved lighting does not guarantee a reduction in crime, but seems to have the biggest impact on areas where lighting was previously inadequate, like some areas around Tulane’s Uptown campus.

The Department of Justice cites an authoritative review on the impact of improved lighting in residential areas in the United States and the United Kingdom that found a 21 percent decrease in crime compared to comparable control areas. 

Tulane’s administration needs to step in and help ASB achieve its goal for the sake of all Tulane students. 

Poor lighting negatively impacts quality of life, tourism and safety for our community and our city. Tulane shows negligence in shying away from this issue. The university must work with the city of New Orleans to increase off-campus lighting to ensure a safe environment for its students.

Emily Carmichael is a freshman in the Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached for comment at [email protected]