Money-Saving Measure Concerns Residents

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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Along Richmond Road in Richmond Heights, some of the street lights are being shut off.

"We think that the reduction of every other street light on major streets will reduce costs without reducing the visibility for people as they are driving around," said Councilman Donald O'Toole.
  
City council is $1 million short this year. 

Reducing the lighting can save them up to $50,000 dollars a year.

"It's not going to look like we turned the lights off in the city.  In fact, if we didn't tell you about it, you probably wouldn't notice because we have so many lights.  We are reducing a third of them," added O'Toole.

Six major roads are the first to turn off every other street light.

For now, the side streets are spared.
  
"We didn't just do this willy nilly.  We analyzed every street light, light by light, and we did not reduce street lighting at the main intersection," said O'Toole.

Police said they aren't anticipating any major problems due to the change. 

However, people who live in Richmond Heights said they are concerned there might be an increase in crime once the lights go out.

"In a dark area, people are more prone to crime.  People might feel unsafe in the area," said Danny Schikowski, of Richmond Heights.

He and his family run a gas station along Richmond Road.

"It's been family owned for over 40 years.  We are engrained into this community and it would be disappointing to see it go downhill," said Schikowski.

"They do something with the lights, major roads, any side streets -- it's just going to increase the crime even more," added Gary Parker of Richmond Heights.

But city council members said they are working with the police to ensure that doesn't happen.

"We want to make sure that Richmond Heights remains a safe city and we want to do everything that we can to live within our budget.  This was just a common sense adjustment that kind of brings us on par with what our neighbors are doing," added O'Toole.

The project is expected to be completed by October.