Morgantown, West Virginia (right over the state line, directly south of Pittsburg) is getting new street lights. The LED lamps direct the light downward rather than all around in multiple directions. Not only will this benefit the animals, insects and birds in the area, the directed light is designed to prevent stray light from entering windows in high rise apartment buildings. The new fixtures were chosen to keep the style of the historic downtown intact.

LED light is brighter, so the city is betting that crime will go down. Interestingly, Morgantown has a much higher than average rate of rapes, so I hope they are working on other deterrents. In Morgantown, 82% of all sexual assaults were committed by someone known to the victim and 70% of those indoors, according to a 2009 forensic report by Marshall University Forensic Science Center.

As far as the other types of crime goes, however, the news is much better. For residents of New York City’s Queens neighborhood, the change was significant. As one resident said,  “I used to be afraid to go out at night with my kids. . ., there are a lot of stupid little guys around who like to start stuff. Now it’s different.”

The photo was taken sometime around 1915, titled, “High Street, Looking North, by Night, Morgantown, W. Va.”