Fresno streetlights going back on

FRESNO, Calif.

Copper thieves stripped the wiring out of streetlights, but now some of those lights are working again just in time for Halloween and a time change.

The problem of copper wire theft is costing the city millions, so the city is resorting to insurance money to rewire the lights.

A house in southwest Fresno is set to welcome trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Nonnie Delamora said that wasn't the case until her street lights were repaired by Fresno workers several weeks ago.

"I, kind of, was contemplating going somewhere else where there's a lot more lighting, in a different neighborhood," Delamora said.

The mother of three said when thieves ripped off the copper wire from the lights in front of her home she felt unsafe at night. "When it's too dark out here, you just never know who is lurking in it," she said.

More than 2,000 streetlights are out due to copper wire theft. Fresno's Public Utilities Director Patrick Wiemiller just secured $149,000 of city insurance money to help his already strapped budget keep up with repairs. Wiemiller said it's a step in the right direction, but not a complete answer.

"We realize that a lot of neighborhoods are still darkened from having their wire stolen," Wiemiller said. "We're not ignoring the problem, we're working as hard as we can."

As the city continues to turn street lights back on Fresno police tell Action News whether or not your neighborhood is dark it's important to take an active role in your own safety.

"Go outside of your home at night and look around," said Fresno Police Lieutenant Don Gross. "If there are dark spots consider lighting, motion sensor lighting."

That's something Action News cameras already spotted people in northwest Fresno doing since their lights are out.

"It does feel a lot more secure when the street is lit up, especially if we're up late or out early," Delamora said.

Some lights are taking up to six months to repair. So, both police and the utility department said if you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighborhood to report it. They said it's the best way to either catch the crooks or prevent the crime altogether.

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