CHICAGO (CBS) — People living in the 4400 block of West West End in West Garfield Park have been dealing with a nightly blackout for going on two months.
“It is pitch dark, and I’ve been seeing this over and over for weeks now,” resident Diane Davis said.
Davis isn’t just complaining to neighbors. She says she’s repeatedly called Ald. Jason Ervin’s 28th Ward office and 311, and so have others, concerned about the potentially dangerous darkness, especially for the block’s elderly.
“By this being the West Side of Chicago, Kostner and West End neighborhood, no one seems to care because so much violence is going on, but we care,” Jonathon Johnson said.
For Johnson, it’s personal. He believes the streetlight outage helped hide the man who, he says, recently robbed him at gunpoint in an alley.
Ervin, who initially said it wasn’t his job to fix street lights, but CDOT’s, then softened and blamed neighborhood criminals.
“We have a huge problem over there with narcotics, and sometimes we find that folks who are out there dealing narcotics are actually turning those lights off,” Ervin said. “One way we’re going to fix that is with changing the infrastructure. That way you don’t have the same access points.”
Exactly when those new lights would be installed, he couldn’t say.
“The lights have to be out for a whole year before we get lights?” Davis said. “Or do you waiting for a statistic to happen? Somebody being a victim of gun robbery? Rape? Do it have to go to that measure before we get lights? I don’t think so. It’s not fair.”
The alderman could not say when or if any of the other streetlights on adjacent blocks that are out will be fixed before the new ones are installed.