“The Bright and the Dark Side of Smart Lights” The Protective Effect of Smart City Infrastructures

AbstractIn this paper, we investigate the protective effect of smart street lighting on public safety. Smart lights have a variety of features, such as video surveillance or gun-shot detection. Some of these features can have a deterrent effect on crime. Other features, however, such as adaptive brightness control, may also encourage crime. Using a comprehensive dataset on the crimes committed in downtown San Diego (CA) during 1st May 2017 and 30th April 2018, we investigate the crime rates a priori and posterior to the installation of smart lights in this area. The results of the empirical analysis suggest that smart lights have a statistically significant negative impact on crime and that their installation increases the safety of citizens.

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