Residents Aim to 'Light Up' Hilton
A new crime-prevention strategy is encouraging Hilton residents to keep their neighborhood safe, one light bulb at a time.
The Hilton Neighborhood Association recently celebrated its 16th anniversary by launching a new initiative to improve community safety.
“Lighten Up Hilton” is providing all neighborhood residents with free light bulbs to encourage them to keep an exterior light on at night to deter crime.
At a work-party held earlier in June, HNA members assembled 300 bags — which also included informational pamphlets from the Maplewood Police Department and letters explaining the program – and distributed them door-to-door.
“Eventually, we want to distribute bulbs to the entire neighborhood,” said Carol Buchanan, HNA president.
The idea emerged from a series of public meetings held by Mayor Vic DeLuca last year, after the area was plagued by a rash of break-ins. Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino urged residents to keep an exterior light on during the night to discourage criminal activity.
“It's about building community,” said Mayor DeLuca. “If we can get folks to keep their outside front light on, it will show unity on that block. I hope in the end it makes the neighborhood safer and increases cooperation between residents, the association and the police department.”
The Mayor personally delivered around 50 bulbs to residents in his own Hilton neighborhood.
“We hope that this continuing project will bring community members together in a joint effort, as well as discourage crime in the area,” said Buchanan. “Imagine if residents worked together so that everyone lights up our neighborhoods.”
Local merchants generously contributed to the funding of the project, including: AIROYAL Co., DiPietro Foods, Dr. Dionne Williams, Fringe Hair Salon, Park Wood Diner, Topf's Pharmacy, Union Tool & Mold Co., and Woolley Fuel Co.
The association is seeking additional funding to reach its goal of distributing bulbs to every residence in the Hilton area.
Community members are invited to participate in the project by distributing the materials door-to-door, or making a donation to support the effort. For more information, contact Carol Buchanan at email@example.com or 973-761-4672.