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Better lighting call for safer Brighton streets
New street lights could be installed to help tackle a rise of night time violence.
Council bosses are considering putting up extra lighting in St James’s Street in Brighton after a sharp rise in late night attacks.
Residents and businesses have complained parts of the city’s gay district are poorly lit, making the area ripe for trouble.
Between October 2011 and September this year, the number of recorded violent crimes soared 40% from 85 to 120.
Last month a 36-year-old homeless man was left fighting for his life after a brutal beating.
After the attack police released grainy CCTV footage of two suspects travelling the wrong way up the street on a moped.
Violent hate crime has also rocketed in St James’s Street by 40% over the last year.
Council officers met with traders, community leaders and neighbourhood police to examine whether more lighting could help solve the problem.
Chris Cooke, the chair of the city’s LGBT Community Safety Forum, said it was “essential” that new street lights were installed as soon as possible.
He said: “The new functional lighting would have a dramatic impact on the street, making it that much brighter and hopefully that much safer. The ambient lighting we have at the moment is little more than useless.
“I firmly believe that brightly lit thoroughfares discourage antisocial behaviour. This is the first of many steps in rebuilding our neighbourhood and I am sure new lights would make St James’s Street much more inviting for residents, businesses and of course our visitors too.”
Community leaders are also calling for more CCTV cameras to deter and detect attackers.
A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said no decision had yet been taken but that there had been “positive discussions” about the new lights.
Next month a meeting between police and community leaders will discuss possible solutions to St James’s Street’s problems.
It is hoped a new Local Action Team will be formed at the meeting after the last team was dissolved two years ago.
The meeting, which is open to anyone, will take place at 4pm on Wednesday December 5 at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church.
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