The city of Kohtla-Järve has decided to switch off street lighting to save money on electricity. People returning from work at night are told to walk in pairs in the interests of safety.
The city has decided to do without street lighting until the end of July in light of soaring electricity prices. Dozens of unhappy citizens have turned to the municipal authorities.
"We urge citizens to understand the decision as money can only come from the budget, and if the budget doesn't have enough, something has got to give," Mayor Toomas Nael said.
Kohtla-Järve hopes to save over €100,000 a month this way in a situation where former city executives were paid severance of €60,000 this spring.
"The bonuses decision was made by the city council, not the city government and is difficult for me to comment on," Nael said.
The police said that the decision makes their work more difficult. Luckily, the around ten dark nights in the city have not brought about a crime spree.
Citizens were given various recommendations for moving around after dark.
"The simplest recommendation is to make oneself visible. For example, use a flashlight when walking in the dark and always wear a reflector," Sofia Sarap, PPA head constable for the Kohtla-Järve region, said.
"The situation is what it is, and people need to take care. Perhaps walk to work and back with somebody. The usual precautions of looking around and walking softly," Nael offered.
The city of Kohtla-Järve is the fifth largest local government in Estonia, its five districts home to over 32,000 people.
Editor: Marcus Turovski