February 13, 2013
Creative approach lights path darkened by copper wire theft
The City of Concord is taking a creative approach to providing light along a path that went dark after thieves stole copper wire from the light standards.
The lights are adjacent to the North Concord BART path along Port Chicago Highway. In May, the City will be able to repair the lights, but in the meantime pedestrians walking from the BART station requested a temporary fix. The City was able to temporarily reactivate three lights at the Esperanza Street outlet from the path. Several lighting solutions were explored to light the rest of the path, but were cost-prohibitive at $30,000 or more.
The Public Works department's creative, cost-effective solution is to install solar powered, low-wattage lights at the top of the existing light poles. Although the solar lights do not replicate the bright light provided by the permanent lights, they do provide enough illumination to assist pedestrians in recognizing obstacles on the path. The solar solution also does not require staff to turn the lights on and off, as some of the other temporary solutions did, and comes in at an attractive $400 in equipment costs. Installation will be done by staff during normal working hours.
In addition to the solar lighting, the City will have the assistance of its invaluable Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) teams. These volunteers provide many services to the community. In this case, they will patrol the area in teams of two from 4:30 to 8 p.m. during the work week. The VIPS will be in uniform and will be equipped with flashlights and radios. The teams will provide eyes and ears in the area, which is likely to discourage crime, and will be in contact with dispatch if they observe any suspicious behavior. In addition, temporary signage will be installed, warning pedestrians of the situation before they enter the pathway.
The City continues to look for the most effective methods with the lowest possible costs to deter copper thieves. The thefts have cost the City over $700,000 in replacement costs. Residents who notice suspicious activity, such as men working on electrical boxes alone without traffic control, late at night, or with unmarked vehicles, should call Concord Police at (925) 671-3333.