Street light outages concern local leaders

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 16, 2011

NATCHEZ — Some Natchez residents are coming home from work to find more shadows in their neighborhood than light.

This isn’t just because it gets darker sooner during winter, Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis said, it is because many of the lights in the city are out, and they stay out longer than they used to.

“I’ve been in certain areas, Union Street, for example, and noticed that they look a little dark,” Arceneaux-Mathis said. “It is just a matter of being on top of the situation and making sure areas in the city are well lit.”

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Arceneaux-Mathis said it was a safety and health mater.

“We project ourselves as a walking community,” she said. “The people who like to walk or jog need to do that in well lit areas.”

It is common sense that lights would help with public safety and crime prevention, Arceneaux-Mathis said.

“Someone who is prone to breaking into houses is going to keep looking for somewhere darker if he or she is in a well lit area,” Arceneaux-Mathis said. “Any time you have a dark area, you can also have wrecks.”

Alderman Ernest “Tony” Fields said he had noticed the problem in his ward, and other parts of the city, as well.

“In my area, you will see a lot of lights out on Martin Luther King Jr. Street,” Fields said. “I know there are lighting issues out on West Stiers Lane and even sometimes lights are out on Main Street.”

Fields said he’d like to see a complete sweep of the city done, ward-by-ward.

“It’ll not only help identifying what lights are out,” Fields said, “but we’d see places where we may need to put more poles up to help some of these neighborhoods with lighting problems.”

Fields and Arceneaux-Mathis agreed, however, that the best way to solve this problem is have the citizens call in problem spots.

“We can all collaborate to get the lights going in the city,” Fields said.

Police Chief Mike Mullins said his officers record the address and pole number of lights that are out as they patrol at night, but added that it would help if neighborhood residents would report lights that are out as well.

“The main interest is that it does help deter crime to have areas well lit,” Mullins said. “We want help notifying Entergy as soon as possible.”

Mullins said when residents notice a light out, they should record the address and pole number, if possible, and report it to the building inspection department at 601-445-7512 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.