Northampton considering turning off parking lot lights

Police chief concerned about possible increase in crime

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — A fight is beginning in Northampton over a proposal that would require businesses to turn off the lights in their parking lots at night.

Supporters of the measure being discussed at city council meetings say it would save energy and cut down on light pollution, making the starry sky more visible at night.

But opponents, including Police Chief Russell Sienkiewicz, say dark parking lots encourage criminal activity. The chief told councilors at a recent meeting that lighting is the second most important tool in crime prevention, after increased patrols.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that no decisions were made at last week’s meeting. Councilors instead will take more time to study the issue and seek input from business owners who may be affected by such a change.

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