SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Starting Saturday, the streets of San Jose will be looking much brighter when the city starts reconnecting 900 street lights turned off four years ago to save money.

The move to turn off lights angered residents, who complained that public safety in their neighborhoods had been compromised.

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“Somebody robbed my truck, my tools,” said an East San Jose resident who asked to be identified only as Tony.

Mayor Chuck Reed said the lights were being restored because the city could once again afford it, even as he concurred that brighter streets tend to be safer streets.

“We do know that if it’s dark, that does make it more difficult to spot criminal activity and identify those engaged in it, so having them back on will be helpful. And it certainly gives a sense of comfort to the neighborhood,” he said.

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Reed pointed out that most of the city’s 60,000 street lamps were never turned off. The outages saved the city $77,000 a year in energy costs.

The lamps will be restored gradually at a rate of 225 each month.

The city is also converting 2,100 yellow sodium vapor street lamps to white LED lights that are both brighter and more energy efficient.

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