One of those cities is Edcouch, which has just signed an ordinance last week to add street lights in areas where there are none.
Samuel Gonzalez is a resident in the city of Edcouch. A year ago, he and his wife moved to a new home thanks to Proyecto Azteca, a non-profit that provies housing assistance to low-income families.
At a glance it seems the Gonzalez’s have nothing to worry about, however, come night fall, the area is a host for problems.
“There’s a lot of vandalism and burglaries and all of that but our biggest concern was for safety, safety for ourselves and safety for our children.”
Dolores Huerta and Rebecca Flores streets, part of the Lynchberg subdivision, don’t have light poles. A common problem in most of the over a thousand “colonias” in the Rio Grande Valley,” explians Samuel Gonzalez, Edcouch resident.
“We’ve had our families there complaining. You know, they have these beautiful new homes that Proyecto Azteca was able to build for them. They’re energy efficient, they’re affordable. But, they don’t have light,” says Amy, Proyecto Azteca spokesperson.
According to Ariaga, there are no laws in place that bind cities nor developers to install street lights in unincorporated areas such as “colonias.”
“A lot of times people in “colonias” think: ‘Well, that’s just the way it is’ but it’s not fair because they have every right to have public light that people in the cities get, but we are seeing progress,” adds Amy.
Cities such as San Juan and most recently Edcouch, have signed ordinances to illuminate every street. A move that Edcouch police chief applauds.
“It’s going to deter crime from occurring. Usually criminals like to go into darker areas as oppose to lighted areas because they can be seen. And obviously if average citizens can see them, so can police,” explains Eloy Cardenas, Edcouch police chief.
Cardenas believes crime rates will fall after this measure.
Something Gonzalez also hopes for. The announcement to the ordinance means he won’t have to take his flash light every time he walks out of his home.
“I just have to tell them: thank you! Thank you!. It was great, it was a great feeling. As a matter of fact me and my wife attended that meeting, so there will be more meetings we are going to,” adds Gonzalez.
The Lynchberg subdivision is expected to have ‘LED’ lights installed in the next couple of weeks. Energy efficient bulbs that are brighter than the conventional street light.