Sponsor a Streetlight to Deter Crime in Rockford Neighborhood

The program presents an opportunity to light up Madison Street

ROCKFORD - "[The] criminal element is our number one concern here," said Alderman Tom McNamara, speaking about the neighborhood around Rockford's Madison Street.  "And I do think shedding light on it helps deter crime."

McNamara made these remarks at a meeting on Tuesday for the Madison Street Corridor project, an initiative that gives the public the opportunity to sponsor a streetlight at only $15-20 per month. Anyone from residents to businesses can take part.

Those supporting the measure say it's a cheap and efficient way to light what is currently a dark stretch at night.

"[Because of] the fact that there's [sic] a lot of people down here and there's a lot of activities going on, and businesses that draw people, and events that draw people," said the Administrator for Rock River Development Partnership, Cathy McDermott. "It would be nice to have a little bit more light."

The lights would be installed on poles, already standing on Madison Street, that used to be street lights. The city had the lights removed a few years ago to save money.

"The reduction program ended up saving over $500,000 a year for the taxpayers," said Kelly Nokes, Deputy Operations Manager for the City of Rockford.

The removal plunged the city block into darkness, leaving many fearing for their safety.

"A lot of the crimes that are happening in the city of Rockford are crimes of opportunity," said Alderman McNamara. "Criminals go where it's easy. It's easy in the dark. So, if we can shed a light on the criminal activity, I mean it's the most important issue facing the city of Rockford right now ... decreasing our incredibly high violent crime rate."

"Safety is a big thing to us," said Chris Manuel, the Vice President of the Prairie Street Brewhouse. "We want to make sure that our residents as well as our customers feel safe at all times around here, and lighting's a big way to helping people feel safe."


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