DAVIS (CBS13) — The ambush-style killing of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona has some wondering if she even saw the shooter. Now street lighting in the area is getting more scrutiny.

Darkness in Davis has been a hot topic political issue for decades.

James Benya is a lighting designer and member of the Dark Sky Asociation who has worked with the city to improve outdoor lighting.

“We ride our bikes we walk downtown, we noticed that there’s sections of downtown we think could be a little bit better lighted,” Benya said.

In 1998, the city passed a dark sky ordinance designed to prevent light pollution from interfering with stargazing.

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“You don’t have to flood everything with light, you don’t want to turn everything into a baseball park,” he said.

Now some are wondering if Davis’ dark downtown streets could have contributed to the dangerous situation that left officer Natalie Corona dead.

Our CBS13 light meter shows there are about 18 foot-candles of light in an intersection, but that drops down to zero while walking mid-block.

On Broadway in Sacramento, the meter showed streetlights shining 21 foot-candles. And at a WalMart parking lot the meter registered 60 foot-candles.

Davis police don’t blame the lack of lighting for contributing to their officer’s death, but some say better lighting design could make the area safer.

UC Davis has installed new outdoor lighting that adapts to conditions with bulbs automatically dimming until a car, bike, or pedestrian passes by.

Comments (2)
  1. Deborah Moran says:

    This report is not clear about James Benya’s involvement. Davis did switch to warmer lower blue LEDs beginning in 2015, but only in the residential areas. Bright white LEDs are great directly underneath but make less well lit areas look impossibly dark. It is not a matter of the foot-candles, it is a matter of the way the eye sees light at night and it cannot handle extremely high differences between bright and dark. On the same poles, a softer white better shielded LED will look more uniform to the eye.

  2. Mark Baker says:

    This article is pure sensationalism. Who are the “some” that are wondering about the dark streets? The police don’t blame the dark for the officer’s death. Chicago has 500 murders a year and their streets are lit up like hospital operating rooms. Glare from overly bright LED lights is far worse than darkness.

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