People urge Columbia to install more lights in East Campus

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COLUMBIA - Many people are urging the city of Columbia to install more lighting in the East Campus neighborhoods. One MU student Sarah Sprick, started a petition to get more lights because of increasing rates of attacks, sexual assaults, and rapes on East Campus. She said more lights would help residents feel safe in their community and home.

In less than 48 hours the petition is close to reaching Sprick's goal of 1,000 signatures. 

Connie Kacprowicz, Utility Services Specialist for Columbia Water and Light Department, said in an older neighborhood like East Campus, the lighting standards were decided a long time ago.

"For neighborhoods that want to have more street lights added, we ask that they get kind of a community consensus just so we don't put a light in and other people complain, and we have to take that light out," Kacprowicz said.

Columbia Water and Light can either add street lights or not based on what the community as a whole wants.

"Some people want more dark skies at night. They want the dark. They don't want light shining in their house, while other times people want them for safety. So it is a compromise the community needs to come to," Kacprowicz said.

One East Campus resident Joey Saltzman said she feels unsafe even walking when the sun is out in the neighborhood because of all the recent crime.

"You hear about that [crime] happening on East Campus where there are not many lights, and you don't hear about incidents happening on campus where all the lights are," Saltzman said.

Saltzman lives right in the middle of a street where there isn't a light.

"I try to not walk home alone as much as I can, but my roommates have work and walk home alone which I think is ridiculous," Saltzman said.

Another resident, Adam Greer, said he signed the petition Wednesday morning.

"Especially when you get closer down the street there are not many lights at all," Greer said.

Greer said he is more scared of someone breaking into his house and thinks lights will lessen that problem.

Janet Hammen, the President of East Campus Neighborhood Association, said she does not think adding lights will decrease sexual assault crime.

"I've lived on East Campus for a long time, and there is plenty of light.The problem seems to be with people not locking their doors," Hammen said.

Kacprowicz said street lighting is a controversial subject and more lights can be installed, but it is up to the City Council to decide when and where.

To sign the petition you can click here.