It’s a fact, backed up by stats, that women face many more incidents of street harassment and violence than men do, says Josephine Hazelton. Now, a new study reveals that 87 percent of U.S. women, ages 18–34, have experienced sexual harassment or street violence.
“Street lighting has a known impact on women’s safety. So why do city planners consider it a ‘gender-neutral’ issue?” asks Hazelton.
During the economic recession in 2008, many cities were reducing street lighting in an effort to cut costs — measures that had a overwhelmingly negative effect on women and their safety.
In 2014, for example, San Diego had six cases of women being physically assaulted on dimly lit streets in two months, while Oakland’s “overall crime rates rose citywide after a reduction in street lighting,” notes Hazelton.