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Auburn Police Department giving out light bulbs to deter neighborhood crime

City of Auburn

The Auburn Police Department has a bright idea: giveaway light bulbs to city residents to deter crime. New York State Electric and Gas donated 2,500 light bulbs for the project.

The lightbulbs are designed to go on at dusk and turn off at dawn. The goal is to keep neighborhood crime down as police note vehicle larceny and break-ins as well as package theft are rising.

Auburn Police Chief James Slayton expects it to make a difference in neighborhoods — saying the brightness could deter wrongdoers.

"We also looked at this from a crime perspective," Slayton said. "A lot of packages being stolen, a lot of vehicle larcenies. It gives the opportunity not only for the police department but for the fire department and ambulances who respond to calls [to] see the house numbers better. This was an all-around effort."

Auburn Police Officer Mike Bufano said a lot of the calls they receive are in the middle of the night making it hard for first responders to assist whether it be a suspicious person incident or another emergency.

"It's more than a light bulb," Bufano said. "I think it's a neighborhood thing."

Timothy Winderl, of NYSEG, said it's also an opportunity to educate people that LED bulbs are more cost-efficient.

"These new LED light bulbs will use $3 a year," Winderl said. "It's equivalent to a 60-watt light bulb which would use probable $10 [or more] over the year. [People will say,] 'That's $3 a year for my safety, I can afford that.'"

The giveaway is Saturday in the rear parking lot of the Auburn City Hall from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Each car will receive three bulbs.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.