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Street Lighting and Crime: Diffusion of Benefits in the Stroke-On-Trent Project

NCJ Number
Crime Prevention Studies Volume: 10 Dated: 1999 Pages: 77-122
Date Published
46 pages

The main objective of this research was to assess the effect of improved street lighting on crime in an experimental area of Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) during the same periods in adjacent and control area with no changes in street lighting.


The study found that the total crime decreased by 26 percent in the experimental area and by 21 percent in the adjacent area, but it increased by 12 percent in the control area. The incidence of crime (victimizations per 100 households, allowing for a maximum of 10 per household) decreased by 43 percent in the experimental area and by 45 percent in the adjacent area, but decreased by only 2 percent in the control area. Police statistics on crimes in the entire jurisdiction decreased by only 2 percent. The study concludes that the improved street lighting was the direct cause of a substantial decrease in crime in the experimental area, with a diffusion of these benefits into the adjacent area, which was not clearly differentiated from the experimental area. Saving from crimes that would have been committed without the improved street lighting far exceeded the cost of lighting improvements. The study used a victim survey to determine the prevalence and the incidence of crime 12 months before and 12 months after the installation of improved street lighting in the experimental area. 63 references and 9 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1999