Bright Idea: City focuses on improvements to help make Hattiesburg safer

Bright Idea: City focuses on improvements to help make Hattiesburg safer
Since November, city council has approved nearly a dozen requests from Mayor Toby Barker for new lighting contracts to add or improve fixtures around the Hub City. (Photo source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg is hoping the future of the community is brighter, and safer.

Since November, city council has approved nearly a dozen requests from Mayor Toby Barker for new lighting contracts to add or improve fixtures around the Hub City.

"The most important thing we can do with our residents is to do everything we can to ensure a safe community and to ensure the perception of a safe community," said Barker.

Barker said there are a lot of areas that could use improvements. He said a focus around places like Brewsky's or Fourth Street Bar, off 25th Avenue, were sparked following the shooting of six people at La Fiesta Brava last month.

"Putting some lighting there, I think ensures, gives the perception and creates some safety there, allows people to feel more comfortable when they are traveling there at night," Barker said.

Improving lighting designs of parking lots, community streets, college campuses and other exterior areas can reduce crime and property offenses by 20 percent, according to the National Institute of Justice.

Many council members, who have approved nearly a dozen requests since November, were excited to see the improvements throughout the city.

"We have an opportunity, at what I think is a low cost to the citizens, to brighten our city and make it much safer at night for the activities we have," said Hattiesburg City Council President Carter Carroll. "I'm really excited at the work we've done over the last couple of months and look forward to the next couple of months to increasing our lighting and making it better."

"I think lighting is a huge factor in safety, and I appreciate very much our city being behind that," said council member Mary Dryden.

"I'd like to thank the administration for working on this. These are very heavily trafficked areas, so we appreciate that," Jeffrey George, council member for Ward 1, added.

According to contracts through city council, the approved improvements will cost (as of Wednesday, February 21)  will cost the city an extra $973.51 a month.

Here is a where you will see those improvements, approved so far:

"I believe we have a very safe city, but anything we can do to better shape that and enforce that, I think it's a good step," said Barker.