MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Millions of dollars are getting poured into a big public safety initiative in Minneapolis, and it has nothing to do with law enforcement.
Mayor Jacob Frey has earmarked $9 million for citywide lighting improvements in the 2023-2024 budget. City officials are hoping increased lighting will deter crime.
"It feels small but its huge," said Ward Four Council Member Latrisha Vetaw. "To have every street light functioning, bright - that’s the least I can do as a council member."
Vetaw has coined the initiative ‘Get Lit Minneapolis’ and says it’s a realistic and proven solution that can improve safety immediately.
"We get reports in my office where no lights work on particular streets and that’s not okay," she said.
While lighting makes people feel safer, studies show it actually does lower crime. In 2016, New York City increased lighting at some public housing projects and observed a significant decline in serious crime.
Vetaw said it's no replacement for increased police presence, but it’s a start.
The improvements include adding lights, changing out old bulbs for brighter LEDs, and fixing broken poles.