Light Up the City

Background Information: A City resident was concerned about the lack of security lighting in an alley way adjacent to their home. A neighbor that had previously lived in the area had a security light attached to their home. The light provided a sense of security to the alley during the evening hours. That light was destroyed by vandals, and the neighbor ultimately moved from the neighborhood, leaving the alley way dark once again. At that point there was nothing that the City of PH could do to facilitate an answer to this issue.

With the mindset of the PHPD Community Policing Program being to “solve problems” in our community, Corporal Lee Heighton of the PHPD Community Policing Program had an idea to address this issue that was brought to the attention of the police department in the late spring of 2012. Corporal Heighton took the initiative to create the ‘Light up the City” program, by getting those organizations that partner with the PHPD-COP program such as local businesses, and our faith based organizations to address this issue. Through his diligent work, this program was created.  

Concept: PHPD -COP zone officers and Neighborhood Watch groups will assist in the identification of qualifying private residences or commercial businesses within the city for the instillation of motion activated security lighting to illuminate dark residential alleys. Faith based organizations within the Port Huron Police Community Oriented Policing Program would be notified of these locations and would coordinate the purchasing or donation of the motion-activated security lights for these alleys.

The faith-based organizations would also coordinate volunteer efforts to install these lights at no cost to the qualified homeowners. The home or business owner will ultimately be responsible for the costs of electricity for the security lights operation.

Goal:  To utilize C.O.P. program resources, primarily faith based organizations and local businesses, to provide illumination of dark city alleys. The goal of this program is to increase our citizen’s sense of security and safety, preventing random acts of violence or theft, and decreasing citizens as targets of opportunity for random criminal acts.

Benefits: Homeowners and entire neighborhoods would have a heightened sense of security due to the illumination of these dark alleys.  This will also initiate a spirit of cooperation between the zone residents, the faith based organizations working within the COP program, local businesses and the police department in addressing a concern that affects the well being of all residents. The end benefit would be to eliminate target of opportunity crimes such as Destruction of Property, Drug Crimes and Larceny from Autos in these newly illuminated alleys. 

Homeowner or Business Qualifications:  Residences and businesses will be screened in insure certain qualifications.  These would include that the residence or business has a suitable outbuilding, such as a garage where the light can be installed, and it is adjacent to a dark alley way. The proposed location to be installed must already have electrical service to it, and the light can be installed in such a location that would prevent tampering or damage by vandals.  The homeowner must also agree to pay for any electrical usage charges directly related to the new lighting.  There are no other charges incurred by the new owner of the security lighting.

Information: Faith based organizations such as Operation Transformation with the Reverend Tom Seppo, OTHERS TBD along with local businesses including, Mortimer Lumber, Gill-Roy Hardware, Lowes, Home Depot, Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart have agreed to allow purchase at wholesale costs, or have already donated motion activated security lights, for the purposes of lighting up previously dark alley ways. These businesses may also donate other materials in order for the program to be successful.  All of these businesses and faith based organizations have already agreed to be publically involved in the C.O.P program Light up the community.

The installation of these lighting projects will be completed by a joint effort of qualified volunteer labor from the faith based organization and several local electrical contractors, including Ainsworth Electric, and Stephenson Electric company of the Port Huron area, to install the lighting, free of charge.  The installation days will be set-up for the homes or buildings designated for installation of the lights within the city.  After the lights are installed, they will immediately become the property and responsibility of the resident owner.   

Communities initial response:   A number of local faith based organizations clergy were briefed on this program to in order to achieve buy-in. They gave an excellent response to this concept and goals of this program. One church, located outside of the City of Port Huron, is already planning on contacting two electricians within their congregation to elicit their involvement in this program when it is launched.  Several pastors have already acknowledged that their churches would like to begin this program immediately. 

Area businesses have already pledged their support, either by guaranteeing wholesale prices on selected security lights, or by a complete donation of the product requested. Based upon the early results, it appears that we will be able to sustain this program over a number of years. The addition of professional electric contractors to assist in the installation of these lights at the various private residences and businesses that have qualified will allow the quick implementation of this program, and facilitate a professional installation at no cost. 

Program participants:
PHPD Community Oriented Policing & Problem Solving Program,
PHPD COP Zone Officers,
PHPD Neighborhood Watch groups.
City of Port Huron –Bureau of Information and Complaints - City Clerks Office

Faith Based Organizations – Partners in the PHPD COP program:
Operation Transformation –The Reverend Tom Seppo

Local Business partners and participants:
Gill-Roy Hardware 
326 Huron Ave
Port Huron

Mortimer Lumber
2307 Lapeer Ave
Port Huron

Sam' Club # 6660
1237 32nd Street
Port Huron

4845 24th Ave
Fort Gratiot

4200 24th Ave
Fort Gratiot

Home depot
4195 24th Ave
Fort Gratiot

Business participants – Donation of labor and materials:

Ainsworth Electric
3763 Lapeer Road
Port Huron
Richard Ainsworth

Stephenson Electric
2545 24th Street
Port Huron
Dave Smith 
Dennis Smith 

Lights have been installed in the following locations:

1800 block of White St
1800 block of Willow St
600 block of 14th St
1400 block of Gordon St
1300 block of Griswold St
800 block of Stanton St
1100 block of Griswold St
3000 block of Military St
1300 block of Griswold St
1800 block of Stone St