Tampa neighborhood says lack of lighting is inviting in crime

ABC Action News takes concerns to city, TECO

TAMPA, Fla. — People in a Tampa neighborhood are coming to ABC Action News to say that the lack of streetlighting is inviting criminals in and driving good people out.

"Right now, I feel like I'm a target," said Limbana McNeal, who lives near the intersection of 25th Avenue and 26th Street, near Ybor City.

Burglars recently ransacked McNeal's home.  

"Even though it happened months ago I cannot get over it," she said. "I can't even see. It's dangerous. Somebody could be watching me."

She is now hesitant to go out at night because she says many streetlights are out and it's simply too dark.

Crystal Fraser moved into the area two years ago and has seen break-ins, drug busts and people taking over abandoned homes.

"People get on the porches there and they are sitting there," Fraser said."They don't live there. But they are causing a lot of ruckus within the neighborhood."

She has sent multiple requests to the city about the lack of streetlights and working streetlights in her neighborhood, even writing a letter to Mayor Bob Buckhorn's office.

When she did not get solutions, she turned to ABC Action News.

"This can be a severe security issue," she said.

After ABC Action News reached out to the City of Tampa and TECO, both agencies have agreed to come out and investigate the situation. They will then determine next steps, said Jean Duncan, City of Tampa Transportation Director.

The entire streetlight grid is set to be converted from amber lighting to brighter LED lights within the next five years, TECO said. The conversion schedule for streets should be out in January, according to an email Fraser received from TECO.

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