Rick Perry is Right. Fossil Fuels Keeping the Lights on Does Help Prevent Assaults

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Austin, Texas. The felony prosecution against Perry ended Wednesday when the state's highest criminal court dismissed an abuse-of-power indictment that the Republican says hampered his short-lived 2016 presidential bid. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“Stay in well-lit areas” our parents used to tell me and my friends whenever we’d hit the town at night when we were younger.

And it was solid advice. The cover of darkness allows criminals to better hide their actions. It’s hard to commit robbery, sexual assault, murder, or rape when everyone can see you doing it in the light.


And that was Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s logic as well according to his speech at the energy policy event in Washington that hosted by Axios on Thursday. Perry spoke on the importance of fossil fuels during which the former Texas governor added that these kinds of fuels are important — especially in countries like Africa — because they also help prevent sexual assaults by keeping the lights on.

Since a Republican/Texan/Male/White/Christian guy said something about sexual assault, the left naturally has to lose its mind about his statement. Looking up responses on Twitter, everyone is commenting on the stupidity of the statement, but not giving any reasoning as to why it’s stupid.

Research suggests that lighting does help reduce crime, though admittedly, it doesn’t always.

A 2007 study showed that after increased public lighting projects in various cities across the U.S., Atlanta, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Fort Worth all showed reduced crime in the areas the lighting was implemented. Specifically, violent crime saw its numbers slack.


However, the study also showed that Indianapolis, Harrisburg, New Orleans, and Portland saw no change in crime.

So while some cities broke even, others saw improvements. Meanwhile, some cities showed that when the lights go out, crime increases.

Chicago, known for being a place high in crime, saw crime spike in various parts of the city, ranging from 60 percent to 134 percent during an outage, according to Chicago’s Dept. of Transportation. Only one part of the city saw a decrease, and others were too light in crime in general to make an accurate estimate.

So while some cities see no change, crime decreases when the lights are on for many others. Perry is mostly correct. More light equals violent crime.


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