From: Carly Sedacca

Winona

 

I was somewhat surprised when I first moved to Winona for school by how dark it is here at night. This can partially be explained by the fact that my entire life up until that point was spent in a single home in St. Paul, which conveniently had a streetlight placed directly in front of it. Granted, I was more familiarized with the area, but nonetheless, it seemed to provide me with a much better feeling of safety. 

It is no secret that women and college students are more likely to experience sexual violence in general and are met with an abundance of street harassment. As a woman and a college student, I can attest to this. I do not live in fear; however, I must admit that this thought is amplified in the back of my head at night as darkness can provide a greater avenue of such harassment and even assault. 

Pauline Repard from The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote that in 2014, six reports of assaults within a one-mile radius of each other in the span of two and a half months were what caused the North Park area to add more street lighting. Most of the cases of assault were on women in dimly lit areas, according to Repard. These assaults happened while 23 of the 550 streetlights in the area were out. 

When I go about my life at night, I can’t help but be reminded of the possibility of something like this happening to me when I can hardly see where I’m going. Over a fourth of Winona’s population is the WSU student body, 66 percent of which are women. I, along with that 66 percent, should not have to constantly be worried about my safety to such an extent where I feel afraid to be out alone at night even if I’m just going to and from my car, which is why Winona should install more streetlights. Considering that over one fourth of Winona’s entire city population is represented by students who are mostly women, it would be beneficial to add additional street lighting to ensure the safety of students, women and residents of Winona in general. 

Although a common objection to this action would be in favor of reducing energy consumption (a perspective which I would usually be in total agreement with), I argue that in this case it is necessary to place the safety and lives of students, women and essentially Winona residents ahead of a mere reduction of energy consumption. And to this I would also propose a compromise between this action and energy conservation that would entail installing streetlights only within a two-mile radius from campus. This would cover most student residents. A study conducted by various researchers from the New York City Police Department and the New York City Housing Authority found that adding streetlights reduced nighttime occurrences of index crimes by a minimum of 36 percent. Adding more streetlights to Winona would increase the feeling of safety for everyone, as this has been proven.