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Street Lights Restore Iraqis’ Sense of Safety

Sgt. Luis Delgadillo, USA Special to American Forces Press Service

A concerned local citizen stands watch near a checkpoint in Arab Jabour, Iraq, Dec. 27, 2007. Street lights, a recent addition to the area, have improved the security climate. Photo by Sgt. Luis Delgadillo, USA

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq, Jan. 2, 2008 – With small additions like street lights, a sense of safety is returning to the streets of two Iraqi communities.

More than a month after street lights were installed in Arab Jabour and Buaytha, south of Baghdad, local citizens and soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, from Fort Stewart, Ga., are enjoying the peace of mind the lights have brought to the area.

Yassin Majid Yassin, a member of the concerned local citizens group that helps to provide security in Arab Jabour, said the street lights are just the first step in securing the night. He said he hopes that in time, he and his fellow citizens will be able to take on a larger role in securing their neighborhoods at night, for a role now performed largely by soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment.

Army Spc. Dwight Arceneaux, a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, said the street lights have made night patrols a little safer, because anyone out after dark now is easily identifiable, a fact that Yassin and his fellow concerned citizens find comforting. Arceneaux added that the lights also help him and his fellow soldiers recognize which vehicles should or shouldn’t be out on roads after curfew.

Yassin agreed with Arceneaux, adding that nighttime visibility also has meant that roads can stay open in the daytime, as those who would plant roadside bombs no longer have darkness to hide their activities.

“If you were to ask all the people around here, they would tell you the same thing: The lights have made things safer,” he said.

As coalition forces push further south into areas where al Qaeda has been pushed, concerned local citizens like Yassin will take on a larger role in defending their communities, military officials said.

(Army Sgt. Luis Delgadillo serves with 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)

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