‘It’s kind of annoying’: Irvington neighbors paying for street light over dangerous darkness

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- An Irvington neighborhood is stuck paying their way out of darkness.  Homeowners on South Berry Avenue said their street lacks proper lighting, and it's leading to criminal activity.

“Over the last couple of months, I know of two [car break-ins]," said Christine Caturano who lives on the street.

Nearby Pennsy Trail used to have a street light, until it went out in June.  When Caturano contacted Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), they told her it was a security light.

“Which means essentially it's a light that’s paid for by neighbors," said Caturano, adding this anecdote about IPL coming to inspect the situation, “They said well where’s the light, and I said at the end of the dead end.  He said well it’s just too dark, we can’t go down there, which is sort of the irony of the story.”

Caturano said the neighbor likely left the neighborhood, and stopped paying the bill.  In order to get it back on, Caturano was forced to foot the bill.

“I called IPL ,and just told them to put it on my bill, but it's kind of annoying," Caturano said.

She  contacted the city hoping for a reprieve.  She was told of Mayor Joe Hogsett's Operation Night Light initiative which aims to add up to 4,000 new lights in the city through 2025, but it's unsure if her neighborhood is one of them.  In 2016, the city began by adding 100.

The Near East Side Community Organization (NESCO) uses a loophole.  They pay for their security lights on a discount by having a neighbor over the age of 65 pay the bill.  IPL offers a senior citizen discount.

“If there's criminal activity, it just seems really easy getting in and out of space, if there isn’t a light shining on someone," Caturano said.

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