Local

Fresno works to keep street lights on

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The city of Fresno is working on a permanent fix to keep street lights on and away from thieves.

Streetlight boxes are constantly being hit, so the city is working to cement them closed. Each day 150 are sealed for good to stop copper wire theft.

In north Fresno, crews are prepping, pouring and cementing street light boxes. The extreme security is to stop thieves from constantly ripping out copper wire all over town.

The short term investment is worth it for Fresno city leaders, especially considering it's $25 to cement a box closed or it's $450 to replace stolen wire, then seal it permanently.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said, "Once we spend the money to do the preventative work, we don't have to come back and do further repair work so it's clearly the most effective use of taxpayer dollars and we'll find a way to get it done."

It's a last resort to stop a pricy problem that's leaving neighborhoods dark and dangerous. Councilman Lee Brand says the number one complaint he gets from residents is lights out. "Hopefully we found a solution that within one year government actually did something right and took care of a problem."

In just the past three months, the city of Fresno has had $150 thousand in copper wire losses. Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the public has made it clear- this is what they want fixed in the city of Fresno. "We're going to argue over the next few months about what should be in the budget and what shouldn't be in the budget, I think you are going to hear loudly from the council, and the administration, that there are simple fixes that can be done and they are one time in nature, they are not recurring expenses."

Once workers finish sealing street light boxes, public works officials say they can move on to other projects, like fixing signal lights, potholes and sidewalks.

The city of Fresno has 41-thousand street lights and 25-thousand are vulnerable and easily accessible to thieves.

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Tags:
crimetracker, copper wire theft, ashley swearengin, fresno, fresno county, local, sontaya rose
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