In its 2010 report, Crime in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that there were over two million burglaries committed during that year, with $4.6 billion in property loss sustained. Residential property accounted for over 73% of the burglaries reported. Although there are certainly criminals who are brazen enough to commit their crimes during the day, most of them prefer to do their dirty work under the cover of night. They live in the shadows, looking for homes they think will be a good target. A perfect opportunity is one where they think nobody will be able to watch them work.
It is well worth a home owner’s effort to try to minimize the possibility of being burglarized as much as possible. That is why many home security professionals recommend well-maintained, full house outdoor lighting as a deterrent. While some criminals may still be tempted to enter a well-lit house, when given the choice of that or a dark one, many will choose the dark one.
Main entrance doors, pathways or sidewalks, and areas around parked vehicles should be well-lit for both security and safety, but homeowners may also want to consider installing motion-activated lighting around other possible access points such as garage doors, patios or decks, and rear windows. These are areas which might be more appealing to thieves than front doors which can be seen from the road. Solar-powered lights can save electricity costs, and a light-sensing timer can help regulate when the lights should come on, depending on the time of year.
The lighting should be bright enough to allow homeowners to be able to see what is happening from inside the house. It helps if colors can be identified, but the type of lighting used is also important. It may seem that using the brightest light possible would be the best solution. But “glare” lights, or pole lights that are all glass, may actually make it more difficult for homeowners or neighbors to see any potential burglars. It is more helpful to use lights that have a shield, which limits the amount of offensive “glare” that can make seeing more difficult.
Of course, lights that are not working are no deterrent at all. Every six months, the homeowner should take a walk around the property to inspect the lights and wiring. Worn-out bulbs and fixtures should be replaced, as well as anything that was damaged by weather. Check any visible wiring and sockets for signs of deterioration and replace them if needed. Taking these simple steps is far less costly than the average amount of over $2000 that is lost in a typical burglary.
Security lighting alone is not necessarily a deterrent to crime but, when used in conjunction with other smart home security measures, it can reduce the appeal of a home as a target for burglars. Anything a homeowner can do to make potential thieves stop and think twice about whether entering a particular home is worth the risk, is a valuable investment. A little foresight, care, and planning to install security lighting can go a long way towards keeping your home safer. In the end, it all goes towards achieving the main goals all homeowners have for feeling secure and achieving peace of mind.