New lighting in crime-riddled housing developments leads to drop in crime rates

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FORT GREENE, Brooklyn — Let there be light and crime will drop.

That's what officials and the New York City Housing Authority are learning after they installed new, better lighting in one of the city's most crime-riddled housing developments.

"I've seen it all: the good, the bad and the ugly," said Edna Grant, 78.

For most of the past 58 years, Grant has been living in NYCHA's Ingersoll Houses. She never would have ventured out after dark, but now, with the newer, brighter LED lights just installed, Grant eagerly showed PIX11 News the pansies she'd planted in the community garden — and it was after 9 p.m.

"It's definitely better to have this lighting," Grant added.

Brooklyn City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo fought hard to get the money for the enhanced lighting.

"Our seniors and our entire community didn't feel safe after dark until this lighting was installed," Cumbo said.

The Ingersoll Houses used to be one of 15 NYCHA developments responsible for 20 percent of all the crime in NYCHA's more than 300 complexes, so better lighting was a first step in slashing that rate.

Burglaries and grand larcenies are down in Ingersoll compared to the same period last year.

"This area used to be very dark and not safe," said Gerald Nelson, NYCHA Vice President in charge of Public Safety,. " But look at that basketball court now — it is bright."

These 524  LED lights cost $5.3 million to install. Playground also have better lighting now, so adults feel more comfortable letting children play after dark.

"It is nice for the parents and the kids to have light in the playground," said Sabur Ansari, who was visiting relatives at Ingersoll.

Now that the lights are on, the next project will be installing closed-circuit cameras inside and outside Ingersoll's 20 buildings. That is expected to be completed by year's end.