MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Memphis Mayor Strickland hopes the city’s new project to upgrade 84,000 streetlight fixtures will provide an improved sense of security.

“No longer will criminals have safe harbor to operate under cover of darkness,” Strickland said.

WREG talked one-on-one with Strickland Wednesday about why he believes the new lights will curb crime.

“Most violent crime is happening at convivence stores and that sort of thing but people need to feel safe at their homes,” he said. “I think more light allows more visibility and therefore, people can see what’s going on criminals won’t feel as safe as they would prowling around in the dark.”

The city has contracted out-of-town energy company Ameresco to complete the project. The company said its work expands to large cities like Chicago and it plans to hire some local talent.

“We won’t be able to be successful without working with our many local partners to help make this a successful project including several minority and women-owned businesses,” said Steve Taggart with Ameresco.

The poles will not move but one by one the current Cobra headlights across the city will be replaced with energy-efficient LED bulbs. 

MLGW President JT Young said the project is estimated at around $42 million dollars.

“We are looking at doing bond financing, maybe some private placement debt,” Young said.

He’s not expecting the current costs residents pay for streetlighting to change just yet but said the new system will be easier to maintain and reduce the city’s energy costs and usage.

“Once done we will see about a 55 percent savings in energy. The footprint from an energy perspective will be reduced,” Young said.

MLGW says a few LED lights have already been installed to test things out.

Work on the project is expected to start next month and end in the fall of next year.