Pennsylvania House Bill 1130 Sheds Light on Crime Prevention

Rep. Roni Green (D-Philadelphia)Submitted Image

HARRISBURG, PA — A new bill, aiming to reduce crime rates in Pennsylvania by improving lighting and security measures in public spaces, is gaining traction within the state legislature. The Safe Communities Grant Program, encapsulated in House Bill 1130, was the focus of a recent House Majority Policy Committee meeting hosted by Rep. Roni Green (D-Philadelphia).

The bill, co-authored by Green and Rep. Stephen Kinsey, seeks to amend Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. If passed, it would establish the Safe Communities Grant Program and its associated fund, placing responsibility for its implementation on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

“The Safe Communities Grant Program is another tool in our toolbox to improve public safety and keep our children and young people safe,” said Green. “This program could help all communities by ensuring public spaces are safe spaces.”

The legislation came about after Philadelphia resident Marva Linda Montgomery pitched the idea to Rep. Green. Montgomery, who testified at the committee meeting, believes that improved public lighting and security cameras could be instrumental in documenting criminal activity, aiding law enforcement efforts, and deterring potential criminals.

“It’s not just a Philadelphia problem,” Montgomery said. “It’s a nationwide problem.” She went on to explain that her mother often said about stopping crime, “First you have to slow them down.”

The bill has received support from various quarters, including Philadelphia City Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr., who chairs the city’s Committee on Public Safety and is a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

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Jones, who last year released an updated version of the Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia featuring 140 recommendations to decrease violence, stated, “It’s well known, if you increase lighting in public areas you will decrease crime. The statistics will show, in places where it’s not well lit or where cameras do not exist, there is crime. These lights prevent crime; these cameras save lives.”

Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro expressed optimism about the bill’s potential impact. “I’m hopeful the Senate will not miss this valuable opportunity to pass a law-and-order piece of legislation to help make the Safe Communities Grant Program a reality,” he said. “It would provide the tools our communities and local law enforcement need to make our communities safer.”

The bill, passed by the House last July, now awaits action in the Senate. If enacted, it could significantly change the landscape of public safety across Pennsylvania, providing critical funding for lighting and security enhancements in public spaces such as schools and parks.

The Safe Communities Grant Program represents a proactive approach to crime prevention, one that could serve as a model for other states grappling with similar issues. By addressing environmental factors that may contribute to crime, like poor lighting, and equipping law enforcement with additional tools, like security cameras, lawmakers hope to create safer communities for all Pennsylvanians.

As the bill moves forward, its proponents hope that it will not only decrease crime rates but also foster a greater sense of security and community among Pennsylvania’s residents. In a time when public safety is a paramount concern, the Safe Communities Grant Program offers a promising solution to an enduring problem.

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VIDEO: Ensuring Safe Communities in Pennsylvania

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