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Archive for Friday, December 16, 2011

100 years ago: Reduction in downtown crime credited to electric lights

December 16, 2011

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Dec. 16, 1911:

"A few years ago one of the best known physicians in Lawrence waited upon a young lady, whose story if made public would have stirred the town as it was never stirred before. The passion of the town could not have been restrained and bloodshed would certainly have followed. The story was never made public although the attack had been committed in a stairway on Massachusetts street early in the evening. The streets were then dark, for that was before the present system of street lighting had been adopted, and a stairway on Massachusetts street was as safe a place for an attack as the most unfrequented spot in town. It will be remembered that at about this time there were a score of holdups. Purses were snatched from the women, attacks were made upon women and girls and the feminine population of Lawrence was so scared that women were afraid to be upon the streets. All this mind you was when the streets were dark. Since the installation of the White Way on Massachusetts street, and the up-to-date system of lighting over town, assaults, hold-ups, and robberies have been very few. No matter how criminal a man's instincts may be, he'll hesitate a long while before making an attack where it is light. As a matter of protection alone the street lights of Lawrence have been worth many times their cost. They have made the street safe and have driven from the town an element that the city can well afford to lose."

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