How Effective Is Your Security Lighting?

How Effective Is Your Security Lighting?

By John Voket

A recent social network interaction prompted a question about whether constant all-night floodlight illumination is safer and more intimidating to vandals or burglars than the sudden bright light from a motion activated system.

That subject is addressed by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Crime Prevention Unit. That law enforcement agency recommends single family homeowners light up the perimeter of your home during the night, including entrances, rear doors, and dark areas.

Lighting is a deterrent for someone who is tempted to commit a crime, according to the sheriff agency.
Besides suggesting the best place for outside lighting as under eaves, illuminating walls, and by gates and driveways, the San Diego sheriffs say that motion sensors are not as effective as dusk-to-dawn lighting as they can be set off easily and frequently by animals, thus desensitizing the residents to their activation.

Install a timer or photoelectric cell (sensor) on outdoor light fixtures so that they turn on automatically at dusk and go off at dawn, or simply convert your wall switch to an electric timer.

Also, ensure that surrounding landscaping does not obscure the lighting.

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) recommends the following home security lighting tips:

• Place two lights on either side of the main entry. Not only will this help homeowners locate keys and locks easier when coming and going, but it will also help you identify people through your peephole.

• Don’t use overhead lights at entrances and exits. Overhead lights will create a silhouette or cover the visitor’s face with shadows. The ideal situation is to have lower wattage lights on each side of the door at about eye level.

• For energy efficiency, use a motion-sensor and photocell combination device. This will ensure the lights only turn on at night when someone approaches your doorway. The motion sensor can also serve to alert you that someone is at your door. 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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