Security lighting can be an excellent environmental crime deterrent. But, surprisingly enough, when some schools turned off their security lights, vandalism went way down. This story is important to the homeowner for two things; first, that vandalism most often occurs when vandals can see what they’re doing. Second, because when there is usually darkness, people notice if a light comes on, such as a motion-activated security light, and it alerts them that someone is there.
But is darkness the answer? That depends on a variety of situations. For security lighting to be effective, it can’t produce so much glare that a camera or person can’t see a crime in progress. Bright, unshielded floodlights lure people into a false sense of security. Also, lights that help criminals see but discourage others from looking into the bright lights aren't effective.
So, the design is important. Experts recommend .05 watts per square foot. Also, photocell passive infrared sensors (PIR) are recommended. These sensors do not give off energy (they are passive) but detect the energy emitted by living objects.
Security lights can be LED, solar powered, dusk to dawn (photocell), and motion sensor. Motion sensor lights have the advantage in that, in the PIR detects energy (a person), the light will come on. Sudden lighting creates a spotlight on the individual who entered into the sensor field, which may or may not activate a camera and alarm. In other types of settings, it may be advantageous to have strategically placed low-level lights, which create visibility without being overwhelming.
Conditions differ depending on the neighborhood and the amount of traffic, as well as the layout of the property and surrounding elements. When you decide on security lighting, you then need to determine if it’s best to go with battery powered, hardwired, low voltage, line voltage, solar, or plug-in.
But, don’t just think of security lighting as one more layer in your security system. The reason is that security lighting isn’t just about security. Lights provide ambiance, dusk-to-dawn safety, and tremendous cost savings over the long term if they're LED lights.
Your objectives need to be kept in mind, whether you want to enhance the night view of your property, provide patio lighting for barbecues, or highlight certain elements of your home. At the same time, you also need to keep in mind the downside of security lighting; you want to have a lighting system, but without having it pointing at, or annoying, your neighbors or violating your HOA.
Security lighting comes in a wide variety of attractive finishes and styles. These can be chosen to match the color and style of the home. They can be integrated into a Smart Home to work in tandem with cameras, so the homeowner is not only warned when an intruder approaches but has a visible image of the person and a photograph.
Sometimes existing security lighting doesn’t need to be replaced. Updating or upgrading existing fixtures, possibly switching to LED bulbs or adding smart components can make an older system more economical, more functional, and ultimately quite suitable.
Whether you’re looking for a new system or looking to upgrade or alter your existing system, A good electrician who has experience with security lighting can help you with the planning--both placement and power--so you can get maximum value from your home security lighting.
If you have security lighting needs, give us a call. We'll be happy to help.