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Residents in areas with broken streetlights look to MLGW's lighting programs

“I have called Light Gas and Water several times,” said Linda Wilkins, a Whitehaven resident.
Credit: WATN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One deterrent of crime is lighting on streets. Still, in some areas across Memphis, those lights are broken and not working.

A Whitehaven community has several broken lights. They are looking to MLGW to fix the problem.

There’s no place like home until night falls. 

“If you go outside…If you put your hand out, you probably can’t even see it. It’s just that dark,” said Linda Wilkins, a Whitehaven resident.

On her street, only two of the six streetlights work. She said it has been that way since about November. 

"My neighbor two doors down — her car was stolen from her driveway," Wilins said. "I’ve been over here 25 almost 30 years, and we have never had anything like that to happen like that before. I’m thinking with the darkness, it was the perfect cover for her car to be stolen. I have called Light Gas and Water several times."

After contacting MLGW and the City of Memphis, Wilkins said MLGW did come out, but they only marked the broken streetlights with red tape. 

"The red tape just let us know that maybe they have addressed the problem, but we still don’t know [or] have an answer," Wilkins said. "That’s what’s most frustrating to the neighborhood,"

There are also other areas around Memphis with broken lights. To address the problem, MLGW has a leased outdoor lighting program where residents and businesses can lease property lights for $8.05 a month. 

“The leased outdoor lighting operates automatically from dust until dawn — It puts homes and businesses in the spotlight to improve safety and security, said Gale Jones Carson, MLGW Community and External Affairs Vice President.” 

Coinciding with crime, MLGW said they have seen an increase in residents leasing these lights since 2021 with more than 37,000 active lights currently being leased. 

“People want to feel safe where they live; where they work and where they go,” said Jones Carson.

Plus, MLGW has started a streetlight program beginning in the southwest areas of Memphis. 

"We’re working on getting LED lights installed all over the City of Memphis which would be almost 80,000 lights that we’re installing," Jones Carson said. "We should have that done by the end of the year."

Wilkins isn't as optimistic.

“That sounds wonderful, but does that mean we’ll have to wait until the end of the year before we get lights?” Wilkins said. “On your light bill, they’re going to deduct that $5 a month whether you have lights or not. That’s just not fair.”

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