Detroit resident on public lighting audit: 'A welcome sight'

Public Lighting Authority checks on street lights across Detroit

DETROIT – In an eastside Detroit community, neighbors say about 5 percent of the street lights actually work. When it's night time, the neighborhood is pitch dark.

One by one the Public Lighting Authority is checking the the street lights.

More: Detroit lighting survey underway

"It's a welcome sight. It's a long wait. We've been waiting on it quite of while here," said resident Kodi Spencer.

There are about 88,000 streets lights in the city. It's estimated that less than half of them are working. But people who live in the neighborhoods believe it's far less than that.

"Less than 5 percent of them," Melvin Bender said. "Very few of them are working. From this block down to 7 Mile (Road) none are working."

The Public Lighting Authority is beginning the process of repairing street lights in two neighborhoods this fall: one on the west side around McNichols Road, Southfield Road, Fenkell and Telegraph roads and the other on the east side around 8 Mile, Kelly, Hoover and Houston Whittier.

The neighborhoods would be used as models to light the rest of the city.

Odis Jones is the head of the Public Lighting Authority. He knows getting the lights back on is one thing, another is keeping them on with copper thieves on the prowl.

"The new system that goes in place will not have that series circuit system that will requires copper in it so there won't be any copper for them to steal," Jones said.

Neighbors are hoping the lights will cut down on all crime in the city.

"I'm out a lot ... poor lighting just makes it worse."

It will take about three years for the city to have every street light in the city working.