Cutting trees, increasing light could make Greek row safer

By Jason Pfrommer

The Safety Sub-committee of the Safety and Quality Housing Task Force met to discuss plans to increase the perception of safety along the northwest neighborhoods of DeKalb, specifically Greek Row.

Joel Mauer, assistant director of public works, said that trees along Kimberly, Edgebrook, Greenbrier, and Hillcrest were all being trimmed back to allow more light to shown down to the walkways and streets. Mauer also said that some lights along these streets will be outfitted with a second arm that would double the amount of light cast by each individual light pole. There will also be improvements made to light posts that may not be casting enough light to begin with. Mauer said that along several streets some of the bulbs used will be changed from 150 watts to 250 watts.

Mauer said that due to the storms that have taken place in the past two months he is unsure when Com-Ed will be able to send out crews to start on lighting improvements. Mauer said that residents should see an improvement in the lighting situation just because of the tree trimming taking place.

Subcommittee member James Zanayed said the northwest area itself is not unsafe but rather people’s perceptions of the area make it seem unsafe. Zanayed said that the lighting improvements may also improve people’s perceptions of safety on and around Greek Row.

Subcommittee member John Rey said he was interested in not only reaching out to the Greek communities but also to the students living in rental properties in that area. He stressed the importance of trying to get all residents of the northwest area to understand the importance of safety within their communities.

Zanayed said that one way to educate the Greek Community would be to make safety meetings mandatory for chapter members, but he said he believes many sorority and fraternity members would attend these meetings even if they were not mandatory. However, it would be impossible to make any of these meetings mandatory for apartment residents not involved in the Greek community.

Subcommittee member Colleen Coghlan said one method that would increase the perception of safety in the area was a method known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Rey said he believes the ideas implemented around Greek Row could be used as a prototype for other neighborhoods throughout the community.