Security lighting serves two important functions: Prevent property loss or damage due to break-in or burglary and prevent crime against people who live, work or visit a property. When security lighting is chosen and installed correctly, it can go a long way toward improving the security of your property. But when it’s improperly installed, not only will it fall short of its objectives, but it can actually increase the amount of crime on a property. How? Two ways:
- By providing just enough light to offer criminals the visibility they need to commit crimes, but not enough to be identified on security cameras, and
- By affording people on the property a false sense of security that comes from believing the security lighting is adequate to protect them from would-be criminals. In this second case, people on the property may let their guards down or become less aware of potential dangers which they (incorrectly) believe are diminished due to lighting on the property.
In recent years, a lot of attention has been focused on crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). Essentially, CPTED involves two complementary approaches: Using natural materials and building design elements to prevent crime (for instance, planting thorny bushes near ground-level windows or making sure entrances are not recessed and difficult to visualize) and using add-on security measures like lighting and prominently-displayed surveillance systems to deter crime from occurring.
When it comes to security lighting, property owners need to think about the types of fixtures they select as well as the most ideal placement of those fixtures. Because most property owners are not security experts, they tend to make a couple of big mistakes:
- Saving money by choosing the least expensive fixtures: The fixtures you select can have a major impact on your overall lighting plan. Cheap fixtures break down more often and can be easily broken by vandals. They also usually don’t include design features to help focus light where it’s needed most.
- Saving money by cutting back on the number of fixtures used: As noted earlier, a few fixtures can be almost as dangerous as no lighting at all. Inadequate lighting provide criminals with just the light they need to commit crimes, but not so much that they can be identified or detected while committing them. It can also fool people into thinking they’re more secure and safe than they really are.
- Installing lights that are way too bright. Not only do super-bright fixtures cause light pollution, resulting potentially in complaints from your neighbors, they can also cause glare that can make your property more difficult to observe by police and other passersby.
- Confusing safety lighting with security lighting: Safety lighting is typically low-level lighting installed in hazard areas, like stairs. If you think low lights like these provide enough security, you’re very wrong.
Many properties need more than one type of light installed correctly to maximize security. If you’d like to discuss your lighting needs and learn how we can help you develop the best system for your needs, give us a call today.