How to Prevent Crime with Outdoor Lighting


Crime affects us all, whether we’re in Surrey, White Rock or anywhere else in the world. And while we want to, and should, give people the benefit of the doubt and trust our neighbours, there are certain steps we can take to help prevent the chance of crime happening to us and our families.

Prevention is always best and one simple way to help prevent crime is with outdoor lighting. To help you gain some insight on how to prevent crime with outdoor lighting, we’ve come up with a guide on what to use, when and where.

First, a note on the usefulness of outdoor lighting. Good lighting allows you to see and be seen; it allows you to walk safely around your home without running into hazards; it lets you see who is coming and going to and from your home, and it acts as a deterrent to people looking to cause trouble. If lights are on, whether on a timer or a censor, a criminal is much less likely to target that place. And if there are fewer places to lurk in the shadows, a criminal is more likely to find somewhere else to cause trouble.

So what kind of lights should you use? It’s a good idea to use lights that are efficient, that don’t cause a lot of glare, and that direct the light in a specific direction rather than just diffuse it in all directions. Post lanterns are very useful at the end of driveways and walkways that lead to the house. Look for ones that are frosted glass that dampen some of the glare, otherwise the blinding effect can be hazardous to drivers or passersby.

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You can also install floodlights on your driveway, at least 12 feet above the ground so that they are not in the direct eye line of drivers and guests. These lights provide a great deal of light and are particularly useful when connected to a censor to help prevent crime.

Another option for pathways and driveways are walk lights, which are low-mounted fixtures that spread their light downward. They can be spaced every 8 to 10 feet, and new models are often solar powered so they charge throughout the day and offer a nice, aesthetically pleasing lighting effect in the evening without costing anything on your energy bills.

Once you’ve decided what lights you need and where, the next step is to decide how to control them. There are more options than just the traditional switch, though a switch can be useful for something like the porch light just outside your door. However, to make it more convenient, you can place a timer on the switch so that if you are away on holidays or want the light to stay on for a couple of hours after you’ve gone to bed, the timer will do the work for you. Timers are also useful because you can adjust them as the seasons change, having lights come on later in the summer and earlier in the winter.

Another useful option that was previously mentioned is to have a motion detection censor on your outdoor lighting. This is particularly useful in crime prevention because if a thief is sneaking up to break into your garage and a flood light shines on them, they are likely to stop what they’re doing. It’s great to be alerted to the activity around your home, just don’t get to paranoid because of those roaming neighbourhood cats!

Another modern and hassle free option is the photoelectric cell lighting system, which senses when the sun goes down and turns its lights on when there is a lack of natural light. These lights are great to keep otherwise shadowy places illuminated, giving criminals fewer places to lurk.

The trick with outdoor lighting and crime prevention is to think ahead and to try and determine where potential danger zones might be. A home that utilizes motion detection censors and other lighting deterrents is a safer home, even if you are in a safe neighbourhood in Langley or White Rock, it’s best to take the simple preventative steps when you can.