Outside Lighting Best Practices To Deter Home Invasion
In our last post we explored some tips to deter would be criminals from invading your home. Today, let’s look at the benefits of keeping the exterior of your home well lit. Lights deter break-ins for two main reasons. Lights give the impression that someone is there, and they also make it easier for criminals to be seen.
Break up the routine.
- An experienced burglar will take time to scout out your house ahead of time. They will probably have familiarized themselves with your routine. However, if something happens they weren’t expecting, they are more likely to take off.
- Consider the most common times when you feel uneasy about being home alone. Criminals that stake out a property may notice you turn on the lights more often when you are alone, and they could decide to intrude during one of those time periods.
- If you live in a rural area, you should consider motion activated lights rather than lights on a timer. Intruders won’t be able to see where they’re going until they trigger a light. This will disorient them momentarily, as well as give them night vision loss, granting you more time to call the police and turn on every light in the house.
Know when to turn the lights off.
- It probably goes against most instincts to turn the lights off. However, lights that are on all of the time can actually help burglars, because it allows them to see what they are doing at night.
- If a burglar is sneaking around in the shadows, and is suddenly caught in bright light, anyone who is around is going to easily be able to see the would be intruder. You also get the bonus of startling the criminal, which may trigger them to run away.
- Leaving lights on 24 hours a day will actually attract attention, because if you're home, you're more likely to turn the lights off during the day. Using timers that turn lights on and off at different times; can give the illusion that someone manually turning on and off the lights. When you are on vacation, these timers can play a critical role in keeping your home safe. You want to create the illusion that people are home and moving around.
Avoid blind spots.
- You want to make sure you have enough lighting that there aren't large blind spots around your property.
- More not-as-bright lights do a much better job than one really bright one.
- Having blind spots you around your yard, makes it easier for the burglar. You have to consider more areas of your yard than just the obvious ones.
Consider the benefits of lights that are not specifically for security.
- Experienced burglars know all of the different kinds and uses of security lighting, because of this try to not focus all your efforts on lights specifically for security.
- Landscape accent lighting may not be as bright, but it may work even better. The softer light will still provide enough visibility for you to see if someone is creeping around.
- One note of caution however, make sure you accent lighting uses white or clear bulbs. Colored lights can distort facts, such as the color of the clothes the burglar is wearing.
Make sure you are protecting all sides of your home.
- Make sure all the main areas of your home have proper lighting. This means all your doors and main pathways.
- Most people only consider the front of their house, but that's the least likely place for a burglar to be. Make sure that the back yard is covered, and along the sides of your house.
- Having some sort of lighting at all entry points into your home; front, back and/or along the sides is smart, not only to scare off would be intruders but so you can see at night.
The right placement makes all the difference.
- Your security lighting should be up higher off of the ground, shining downwards to cast a big area of light. Lights closer to the ground do not cover as well.
- When lights are placed higher off the ground, the light that comes down will be softer creating less blind spots from shadows. Higher lights make it much easier to overlap coverage with fewer lights.
- Lights that are up high, and aimed downwards also helps to reduce the amount of light pollution you could be shining in your neighbors windows.
- The lights that protect you, also need protecting. Higher placed lights are less likely to be tampered with.
- Make sure that your wires are in areas that are harder to access, and that power boxes also have their own lighting to ward off vandalism. Another option is to use solar powered security lighting.
- Make sure you have a maintenance routine to keep your lights working at their best. Replace any burned out bulbs as quickly as you can, and check on them frequently.
While proper security lighting is important to reducing your risk of home invasion, don't forget that it's only just a part of things you can do to keep you, your family and your home safe. Next week we will take a more in-depth look at securing your windows.