Some Tacoma neighborhoods in the dark as wire thefts skyrocket | www.kirotv.com (video available on the link) Tacoma, Wash. Donny McHerron said his neighborhood in east Tacoma can be a dangerous place to be after dark, because streetlights that should help keep the area safe aren't working. "At night it is literally a danger zone out here," said McHerron. "Kids don't want to walk out here anymore because it's just completely dark." It's dark because thieves have stripped copper wire that should be powering streetlights for more than a block. And this isn't the only neighborhood in Tacoma languishing in the dark. Tacoma Public Works officials said they're seeing a spike in wire thefts all over the city. "The first 10 months of last year we had about 11 outages. In the last two months we had 56 additional ones," said Tacoma Public Works Director Kurtis Kingsolver. Kingsolver said thieves are getting access to the wire through in-ground junction boxes. Once they pry them open, they cut the wire and pull it out, then sell it to metal recyclers. Kingsolver said the city is working to secure the boxes, even welding some shut, but that's a tall order. "I've got 9,500 of these boxes throughout Tacoma with 21,600 streetlights so there is a lot of area to cover," he said. Kingsolver said some recent arrests have slowed the thefts. Cost estimates aren't available because repairs to much of the damage is still underway. City crews are being backed up by private contractors and crews from Tacoma Public Utilities. Donny McHerron said until the streetlights are back in his neighborhood, he is concerned about his grandchildren playing outside after sunset. "This whole area is a complete blackout at night. It's something to see," said McHerron. "You wouldn't want to be out here, especially with children."