Oakland to fight crime, save money by upgrading streetlights

October 11, 2012 5:22:54 PM PDT
Oakland is working with PG&E to upgrade streetlight fixtures in several East Oakland neighborhoods in an effort to improve public safety and reduce the city's energy costs.

Oakland Public Works Agency spokeswoman Kristine Shaff said Thursday that older, high-pressure sodium streetlights will be swapped out for new, energy-efficient light-emitting diode streetlights.

Shaff said the new lights will create fewer shadows and less glare than the old lights and will provide brighter and more natural light.

The upgrades will be made to 241 city-owned streetlight fixtures in several areas chosen by police, including at International Boulevard near 98th Avenue, MacArthur Boulevard near 73rd Avenue, International Boulevard near 73rd Avenue, and on Seminary Avenue.

Shaff said police believe better lighting "tends to deter undesirable activity" because criminals prefer spots where it's difficult for them to be seen.

She said the city of Oakland will benefit economically because the upgrade will cut its energy expenses over time and reduce its carbon footprint.

Shaff said the upgrade is occurring through PG&E's LED turnkey replacement service, which is providing the city with a zero-interest loan. The city will pay back the loan over 10 years through its regular utility bills, she said.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Deputy Police Chief Eric Breshears and PG&E officials held a news conference at Seminary Avenue and International Boulevard Thursday afternoon to discuss the program.

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