Crime in neighborhood blamed on poor lighting, seeking solution through Kern County Public Works

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - In the neighborhood off of Union Avenue and Wilson Road, getting some street lights could change the scene.

“There's always drug activity going here, prostituting, um theft,” local business owner Hector Lopez said.

Neighbors are not getting much help from law enforcement either, “I do call them every time there's activity going on here... and they don't even show up,” Lopez said.

In the City of Bakersfield, residents can simply call their councilmember or the city itself and put in a request which has happened in the ward surrounding this neighborhood.

Councilman Willie Rivera said a neighborhood near Chester Avenue is getting lights after a request made last year.

This particular neighborhood though, is in a county pocket. Kern County Public Works generally does not install street lights in an existing neighborhood.

Interim Director Greg Fenton said residents can still call and put in a request for them to survey the area.

“Typically what we do is we'll have the ring leader who's pushing the operation in the residential area circulate a petition,” Fenton said.

A successful petition would need to pass a larger vote then the county would install lights, which is not cheap. It’s anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 each.

If the petition was not successful, residents could go through PG&E and personally finance an outdoor light that would light their own property.

Neighbors and nearby business owners are hopeful for street lights one day but for  now are in the dark waiting.

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