Outdoor lighting adds beauty and dimension to a home. Lighting is also an integral part of an effective home security system. Outdoor security lighting discourages would-be intruders from targeting your home by increasing the risk of being caught. The best lighting design allows physical detection and facial recognition, minimizes hiding spots, and increases your sense of safety.
You don't have to light your home like a Christmas tree to feel safe. Over-illumination can draw unwanted attention to valuable items in your home or business. Here are some simple tips to help you identify potential safety and security risks, select the best security lights, and determine their placement to ensure your safety and security.
See which type of security lights work best for your home.
Andrew Coleman, a lighting designer for McKay Landscape Lighting in Omaha, NE, reveals the purpose of residential outdoor lighting is threefold. First, it must be aesthetically pleasing to the homeowners. Second, it must help the residents safely navigate the landscape and perimeter of the home, and allow them to identify obstructions and potential hazards such as a change in elevation. Third, it must provide security by discouraging trespassers. A well-lit home is less likely to be broken into, he says.
A 2007 Washington Post article found burglars search for homes that appear to be unoccupied. Lighting adds an element of surprise and establishes an occupancy pattern that deters intruders from targeting a home in the first place. Residents that use outdoor lighting as part of their security plan significantly decrease their changes of being burglarized.
The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) further explains that good security lighting anticipates potential threats and predators, and increases the means necessary to commit a crime, discouraging would-be criminals from breaking into a home. This security approach is known as target hardening. In other words, the longer it takes to plan and execute a break in, the less likely criminals are to target that home. According to the IES, home security lighting must have the following aims:
Provide a clear view of the area; including people and objects such as fences, walls and barriers
Allow facial recognition at a minimum distance of 30 feet
Make tasks such as finding your keys, retrieving the mail, or walking the dog easier and safer
Help people avoid criminal threats and/or defend themselves when a threat is perceived
Enhance your sense of safety when spending time outdoors