TALLINN - A plan to shut off Tallinn's street lights during certain hours of the night has drawn sharp criticism from politicians, the police and residents of the city.
The Tallinn City Council announced plans to turn off street lights at night in a bid to cut back on expenditures following a 10 percent hike in the price of electricity.
Kate Pentus, the Reform Party candidate for Tallinn City Mayor in the upcoming local elections, has been one of the most outspoken critics of the plan.
"It's impossible to save on the safety of the capital," Pentus said.
"It is clear that we have hard times, but right now it is especially important to provide law and order. I consider that before cutting down the expenses, all parties present in the City Council should agree that the city will not save at the expense of safety of people," she said in a March 23 press release.
Mayor Edgar Savisaar said earlier that shutting off the street lights for one hour would save about 30,000 kroons (1,917 euros). He said the city could save about 12 million kroons through the measures.
Pentus, however, said the money could easily come from other areas.
"The 12 million kroons that the Center Party is going to save on the elementary safety of inhabitants and visitors to the capital must be found in another place. [It could be drawn from] the budgets of town establishments, or from the 50 million kroons that are spent on propaganda, newspapers and telecasts," the candidate was reported as saying by the Delfi Online news portal.
Police spokesmen have also blasted the plan. Pohja district Police Commissioner Kristjan Jaan said that the plan to shut off the lights would make it more difficult for security cameras to identify criminals.
In an interview with Online news portal reporter.ee, Jaan said that in the first two months of the year, the police had been able to prevent about 600 offenses based on information garnered from security cameras. He said that an early switching-off of street lightning from May until August will not interfere with visibility for video observation systems, but that throughout the rest of the year the lack of lighting in the street would hamper visibility.
Igor Anohhin: I am for saving if it really helps the city to economize. In my opinion we, the citizens of Estonia, should be more understanding and should support our country in this hard time
Ave Randviir: On one hand, it is not the best place to save on and it would be better if the Tallinn City government cut expenses on its promotions and campaigns rather than saving on city lights. On the other hand, I personally don't mind as I am usually at home late at night and I can say that in some way it doesn't concern me
Margarita Voskanyan: As for me, I am very worried about this issue as I am a musician and sometimes I come home late at night after some concerts we have with our band. As I live alone, there is no one to come to meet me and I don't feel secure myself. I think it is quite dangerous to walk in the streets alone in the darkness, even though Paaskula, the place where I live, is considered to be quite safe
Tatiana Tsvetkova: I would say that the lack of light is a real problem for me as I drive a car and it is very hard for me to see the road and people crossing the street in the darkness. I think that it is not the right way to save money 's there can be many accidents on the roads just because of that.