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New Streetlights Activated Near Light Rail Station To Reduce Crime

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LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) –A severe beating, robberies and a lot of petty theft. Some Linthicum homeowners claim crime has spiked in their neighborhood because of the light rail.

Monique Griego has more on how their anger led the county to take action.

When the light rail rolled into the Linthicum neighborhood, homeowners say it brought convenience and something else.

“Our crime has gone up in time. Shed break-ins and things like that, burglaries,” said Gregg Helms, homeowner.

Helms’ street, Shipley, has become a popular route to the rail stop. He believes that’s led to an increase in petty crime in the neighborhood. More serious crimes have happened closer to the actual rail station.

“The station itself is a little bit secluded,” Helms said. “It’s down, out of sight.”

In 2007, a woman, waiting at the Nursery Road stop was raped. Then in February of this year, a 59-year-old man was severely beaten while walking near the Linthicum stop.

While neighbors say petty crime is up, Anne Arundel County police stats show burglaries in the area, from January to May, were down nearly 19 percent compared to 2010. Auto thefts also decreased by 5 percent.

Still in response to light rail concerns, on Thursday, Anne Arundel County leaders did take some action. County Executive John Leopold had utility crews install two new streets lights on Shipley and upgraded several others.

“It’s been proven that enhanced lighting reduces the incidents of crime,” Leopold said.

“For now lights are great. Helps with security. Makes residents feel a little more at ease,” said Nick Cosentino, homeowner.

But Cosentino and other neighbors say they won’t stop until the rail is gone for good.

County leaders say they’ve installed around 2,000 lights in high crime areas. But they haven’t done any studies to determine if the lights decreased crime.

Anne Arundel Police say they increased patrols and bike patrols after February’s attack.

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